The City of Salem has a City Ordinance that regulates the type, size and location of all signs in the City of Salem.

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Purpose of Sign Ordinance

Signs perform an important function in identifying and promoting properties, businesses, services, residences, events, and other matters of interest to the public. However, signs also obstruct views, distract motorists, displace alternative uses for land, and pose other problems that legitimately call for regulation. The intent of this Chapter is to regulate all signs within the City of Salem to ensure the creation of a convenient, attractive and harmonious community, protect against destruction of or encroachment upon historic areas, to safeguard that signs are appropriate for their respective uses, in keeping with the appearance of the affected property and surrounding environment, and to protect the public health, safety, and general welfare by:

  • Promoting the safety of the traveling public and pedestrians by assuring quality construction and maintenance of signs, providing for appropriate sign location relative to rights-of-way and other structures in order to maintain safe sight distances and access; minimizing distractions for motorists; preventing traffic signs and signals from becoming obscure; improving motorists' ability to quickly identify roadside destinations; and maintaining appropriate sign standards that support police surveillance activities.
  • Prohibiting the construction of signs in such numbers, sizes, designs, illumination, and locations as may create a hazard to pedestrians and motorists.
  • Enhancing the visual appearance of the city, with particular emphasis on protecting views of its significant surrounding natural features, including the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains, and with emphasis on improving the visual quality of the built environment and creating a convenient, attractive and harmonious community, protection against destruction of or encroachment upon historic areas.
  • Ensuring sign design in the downtown, building on the traditional image and visual environment the City of Salem seeks to promote.
  • Protecting property values by improving the quality of the built environment and eliminating nuisances to the use of other properties due to sign brightness, size, height or movement.
  • Promoting orderly development in all zones within the City.