Signs generally have one or more of the following functions:
- To advertise goods and services.
- Identify the location of an activity.
- Promoting an activity or event.
- Directing traffic or customers to an activity.
These are important functions. However signs can have adverse effects on the environment. The safety and efficiency of the roading network can be compromised if they are poorly located and distract driver attention or restrict visibility. Signs may also adversely impact on the amenity values of the District. Council is charged with the duty of ensuring these adverse effects are avoided, remedied or mitigated. Consequently, if you are considering erecting an advertising sign you may need a resource consent or need to comply with certain guidelines.
What is an Advertising Sign or Device?
The Clutha District Plan defines signs as being any name, figure, character, outline, spectacle, display, delineation, announcement, poster, handbill, advertising device or appliance, or any other thing of a similar nature to attract attention, which is visible from some public place. The structure the sign is attached to is also considered to be part of the sign. Signs fixed to parked vehicles or trailers are also included in this definition except where they are associated with the primary use of the vehicle.
To apply for permission to advertise on a road reserve visit the Roading Application Forms page.
What Type of Advertising Can I Put Up?
This table will help you know whether you can erect your sign.
|Location||Permitted Advertising Signs|
|Council owned land, reserve and road reserve||Signs that comply with Council’s “Traffic Signs Policy” (i.e. motorist services, accommodation facilities, tourist signs). Must be approved by Council.|
|State Highway Reserve||Visit Waka Kotahi (NZ Transport Agency) for their complete requirements. However in general, No resource consent is needed if it complies with their "Manual for Motorist Services and Tourist Signs”. Must have approval from Transit NZ|
|Private Property: |
|Must comply with the following: |
- Situated on the property to which they relate.
- Do not exceed a total of 3 m² in area.
- Are not constructed using retroflective material, flashing or animated signs, including those employing revolving lights.
- Are only illuminated when the premises are open for business.
- Meet the general standards below.
No approvals necessary.
|Must comply with the following:|
- Signs that comply with Councils Traffic Signs Policy or Transit NZ’s Manual
- Signs associated with commercial activities that:
- Do not adjoin residential activities.
- Are located on the site to which they relate.
- Are not erected in a position higher than the apex of the roof of the building on the site.
- Verandah signs shall have a minimum clearance of 2.5 metres above the footpath, and 450 mm form the kerb line.
- Free-standing pole signs not exceeding 3m² in area or six metres in height provided their specific location is approved by Council.
- Footpath sandwich board signs must: (i) not exceed 1m² in area. (ii) not be placed in a position that impedes pedestrian traffic (1.8 metres footpath clearance minimum). (iii) not be within 2 metres of any corner or intersection or interfere with traffic visibility. (iv) exceed no more than two signs per shop frontage. (v) be placed outside the premises to which the sign relates. (vi) only be displayed when the premises are open.
|- One sign per road frontage for industrial buildings. Multi-occupancy buildings are allowed one directory type sign. Illuminated signs are permitted provided they are not flashing. |
- No sign shall exceed the following dimensions: (i) For horizontal signs –length of the building frontage, width of 1.2 metres. (ii) For vertical signs – height of the building, width of 1.2 metres. (iii) For pole signs – an area of 3m² not exceeding 6 metres in height, with a separation distance of 10 metres between such signs. (iv) For directory signs – height of the building, width of no more than 3 metres.
General standards that all signs must comply with
All signs must comply with the following standards:
- The message on all signs must be clear, concise and of a clear lettering style. Clarity of the sign message is directly related to the speed limit of the adjacent road.
- The following table is derived from NZ Transport Agency's guidelines with respect to acceptable lettering sizes in relation to speed limits.
|Regulatory Speed Limit km/hour||Main Message||Property Name||Secondary Message|
- Signs shall not be designed so as to imitate the colour and shape of recognised traffic signs.
- Signs shall not be located where they are likely to distract drivers in a situation where road conditions demand full and uninterrupted driver concentration.
- They shall not be located where they may obstruct driver visibility, along the road, intersections or accesses.
- They shall be located approximately at right angles to the road.
- The sign shall be frangible (i.e. will give way on significant impact by a vehicle) when located within road reserve.
Signs that Need Consent
The following signs will need consent.
- Any of the signs mentioned above that do not meet the criteria listed.
- Advance Warning Signs and Directional Signs that do not comply with Council’s Traffic Sign Policy. These signs are defined as: “a sign, whose sole purpose is to alert the road user of a place ahead, to allow sufficient time for an appropriate driver response or a sign whose sole purpose is to provide direction to a facility or place off a main route.”
- Signs placed on, or affixed to, vehicles and/or trailers which are parked on private or public property or streets, where the apparent purpose is to direct people to a business or activity on a nearby property. (Note: this does not restrict signs placed on, or affixed to, vehicles, such as lettering, where the sign is incidental to the primary use of the vehicle).
- Hoardings. These are defined by the District Plan as: “any building, wall, fence, structure, or erection or part thereof which is erected or used for the purposes of exhibiting or displaying any advertisement, placard or inscription; and also any building, wall, fence, structure, erection upon or against which any advertisement, placard or inscription is displayed, and includes any sign used to advertise anything not sold on the premises where the sign is situated. (This does not include signage at sports grounds).
These signs are non-complying activities for which consent is unlikely to be forthcoming.
This is not intended to cover all aspects of advertising signs, but it should answer many of your questions. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact our staff to discuss further. Please call 03 419 0200 or 0800 801 350 during office hours.