Applying for and obtaining a sign permit in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Carpinteria or Santa Barbara County can be a daunting process for many business owners, due to the complex regulations and application requirements. Santa Barbara Signs & Graphics provides sign permit application services which can simplify and often expedite the process. Below you can find answers to frequently asked questions, and links to local resources, including the sign regulations for the City of Santa Barbara. Please note that the sign ordinances and information contained here may change at any time, and we recommend requesting current documents from the issuing agency directly to confirm you have the most recent version. Please click here to call or email us regarding your project.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:
1. What types of signs do I need a permit for?

Most exterior signs require a permit, however the following types typically do not require a permit: Hours of operation, temporary window signs, grand opening signs, parking signs, and menu signs. You do not need a sign permit to repaint, clean, or otherwise maintain your permitted sign, but cannot change colors or content without a new sign permit. See Chapter 22.70.030 of the Sign Regulations Document for restrictions and additional information.

2. How large can I make my sign?

Santa Barbara typically allows 1 or 1/2 square foot of sign area for each linear foot of dominant building frontage. So if your dominant building frontage is 20 feet, in theory you may be allowed 20 square foot of signage. In many cases the full square footage is not allowed.

3. What types of signs are not allowed?

In Santa Barbara there are several types of signs not allowed outside or within 6 or 10 feet of windows, such as banners, mobile/portable signs, signs that move or change, roof signs, pole signs, and inflatable signs. See Chapter 22.70.030 of the Sign Regulations Document for restrictions and additional information. Carpinteria allows temporary banners under some circumstances.

4. Do I need a permit for signs inside my building?

In Santa Barbara, typically you do not need a sign permit for signs and graphics inside your building, as long as they are 6’ back from the windows, or 10’ back for banners.

5. When do I need to use a licensed sign contractor?

According to the California Contractors State License Board, all building improvement projects, including signs, totaling $500 or more must be installed by a California-licensed contractor. A licensed sign contractor (C61/D42 or C45 license) must pull sign permits for and install non-electrical signs; an electrical sign contractor (C45 license) must pull permits for and install electrical signs. This provides you, the client, with several important protections (see CSLB info here). Santa Barbara Signs & Graphics holds a C45 license, #767442 and is licensed to install all types of signs. Owners and tenants can prepare their own sign permit submittals and have a contractor with the appropriate license pull the permit and install the sign(s), once approved.

6. Who can I ask more questions about sign permits and regulations?

You are welcome to call or email us with questions. You may also contact:

City of Santa Barbara Planning & Zoning Counter – (805) 564-5578
630 Garden St.
Santa Barbara 93101
City of Goleta Permit & Design Center – (805) 961-7543
130 Cremona Drive, Suite B
Goleta 93117

Carpinteria Community Development Department - (805) 684-5405, extension 405 or 407
City Hall
5775 Carpinteria Avenue
Carpinteria, CA 93013
County of Santa Barbara Planning & Development – (805) 568-2000
123 East Anapamu
Santa Barbara 93101
Links and Resources for Sign Regulations and Sign Permits in Santa Barbara, Goleta and Carpinteria:
City of Santa Barbara Sign Committee Submittal Packet:

City of Santa Barbara Sign Ordinance:

City of Santa Barbara Sign Program Information Handout (multi-tenant buildings):

City of Santa Barbara – Additional Links:

City of Carpinteria Sign Regulations and Permit info:

City of Goleta Sign Regulations and Permit Info:

County of Santa Barbara Sign Regulations:

Please click here to call or email us regarding your project.