Sign Permits & Inspections

Plans Review and Inspections Director

Peter Ahrens
(865) 215-3669

400 Main St., Suite 475
Knoxville, TN 37902

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or call 865-215-2999.
Scott Elder
Zoning Chief

The city of Knoxville's zoning ordinance regulates the type, size of all signs in the City of Knoxville. Section 9 of City Ordinance O-149-99, as amended, regulates sign construction design. The permit and inspection process ensures that all signs comply with adopted regulations regarding construction, placement, and size of signs within the city limits. The zoning of the property regulates the placement and size of signs. Zoning for a specific address can be obtained from The Zoning Ordinance is available online at the City's Code of Ordinances. Article 5, section 10. Is the code section for sign regulations.

Do I Need a Permit for My Sign?

Permits are required for all signs, permanent or temporary. A sign permit is required prior to erecting or installing a sign.Per City of Knoxville Zoning Ordinance, Article 5, Section 10.A.24 as of June 1, 2001, off-premise advertising is prohibited in the City of Knoxville. Billboards and advertising signs legally existing prior to this date may be rebuilt in compliance with TCA 13-7-208.

How Do I Get a Permit?

For each sign, the applicant must submit:

• A non-refundable fee calculated for the production and installation as follows: $50.00 base + $3.00 for each $1,000.00 or fraction thereof

• A completed Sign Permit Application [PDF]

• 2 Copies of a Site Plan to comply with Article 5, Section 10.K.4 of the City of Knoxville Zoning Ordinance

• 2 copies of design detail drawings including layout and dimensions. Per city Ordinance O-149-99, Section 9, 3108.3.1, signs 32 square feet or larger and/or 25 feet in height must be signed and stamped by a State of Tennessee licensed architect or engineer.

Applications are available at the Plans Review and Inspections Division, City-County Building, 400 Main Street, Room 505, Knoxville, TN 37902. Our office hours are 8 a.m. To 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Applications are also available online by following the above link. Applications for sign permits can be submitted either in person, by mail or over-night delivery.

After review and approval, the sign permit, along with one copy of all drawings will be mailed to you. The permit and drawings should be on the job site at the time of inspection. If there are code deficiencies, you will be advised of the corrections needed

Electrical work associated with a sign requires a separate electrical permit. All electrical work must be done by a City of Knoxville licensed electrician.

Is an Inspection Necessary? 

The sign inspector must inspect all signs. Ground signs require footing and final inspections. The footing inspection is required prior to pouring concrete and after the hole is dug and steel reinforcement, if required, installed. The final inspection is required after the sign is installed. Wall signs require a final inspection.