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In A Nutshell: Boston Redevelopment Signage Requirements

Exterior Signage, Newsletters, Others, Sign Design, Signage Regulations, Signage Tips

The Boston Redevelopment Authority recognizes that storefronts and signage significantly shape the character of a given district.

To help control and improve that character, the BRA and the City of Boston have enacted regulations and established guidelines for the city as a whole, and for many special districts. The idea is to help ensure that storefronts and signage complement their local neighborhoods.

Nevertheless, every effort is made to allow individual business owners to effectively promote their goods and services, and also to express their individuality and creative ideas.

Over the years, Metro Sign and Awning has developed a good deal of expertise and experience in working with the various regulatory agencies, helping business owners, architects, and developers to realize their vision while meeting the local signage requirements. We have learned that storefront and signage guidelines vary widely from one geographic location to another.

What’s more, a wide variety of factors can be brought into play in order to win approval for signage designs that, at first glance, seem unlikely to pass muster.

The basic procedures for winning approval for your new or updated signage include the following:

  • Adding a new sign requires a Long Form Permit from the City of Boston’s Inspectional Services Department (ISD) and may trigger BRA Design review.
  • Replacing an existing sign requires a Short Form Permit from ISD and may trigger BRA Design review.
  • If your building is in a Main Streets District, your sign should be reviewed by the local Main Streets organization. For more information visit Boston Main Streets.
  • If your building is in a Special Zoning Overlay District, the sign or canopy must be reviewed by the BRA Zoning and Urban Design departments.

Historic Districts have their own specific regulations regarding signs, canopies, awnings, and storefronts. Information about Historic Districts can be found in a table we’ve included in this previous post on BRA-related matters.

In addition, many proposed signs require BRA design review before they can be approved and installed.

Whether or not you’re operating in one of these districts, we can be of immense help in getting your new or updated signage designed, approved, fabricated, and installed. You can start the process by contacting us here.

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