Public Way Signs & Fixtures

Many business owners wish to hang a sign or place a light fixture, canopy, awning, banner, or marquee on their place of business. Often the sign or fixture is on, over, or under the “public way”, which is defined as the City’s streets, sidewalks, alleys, and parkways. In other cases, the sign hangs over the property of the building owner (i.e. the sign hangs over the parking lot). Regardless whether the sign or fixture hangs over the public way or the property of the building owner, the business owner must first obtain a Department of Buildings (DOB) sign construction permit. Only a licensed sign contractor may apply to obtain a DOB sign construction permit. Business owners can find a list of licensed sign contractors and a step-by-step description of the sign and fixture permit process here.

If the sign or fixture will hang over the public way, the business owner must complete a Grant of Privilege Permit Application from the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) Public Way Use Unit. The completed permit application packet then needs to be submitted to BACP for review and processing. BACP will prepare an Ordinance to be introduced and approved by the City Council. Please note: If the entire sign or fixture hangs over the property of the building owner, no Grant of Privilege Permit is required.

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