Sign rules in residential- and neighborhood-commercial districts

Learn what types of signs you can put up in residential commercial and neighborhood commercial districts and what rules to follow.

There are general rules that apply to all signs in neighborhood commercial and residential-commercial districts. There are also rules specific to the zoning district that the sign is located in.

General rules

These signs and sign features are not allowed in neighborhood commercial and residential-commercial districts:

  • Roof signs
  • Wind signs
  • Signs on canopies

Your sign cannot have any moving parts (rotating, swinging) or animated lighting (flashing, blinking).

Identifying signs

Identifying signs tell only the name, address, and use of the property on which they are located.

You may have 1 identifying sign.

  • Illumination: None, indirect, or direct
  • Area: Maximum of 20 square feet 
  • Height:
    • Wall or projecting: Mounted on first-story
    • Freestanding: 15 feet or lower

Identifying signs may be freestanding signs only if the building is recessed from the street property line. 

If a freestanding identifying sign is on the lot, freestanding business signs are not allowed.


Nameplates only state the name and occupation of persons using the space.

You may have 1 nameplate per noncommercial use.

  • Illumination: None, indirect, direct
  • Area: Maximum of 2 square feet

Nameplates may be attached to a building.

Window signs

You may paint or apply any number of signs directly on the surface of your window glass.

  • Illumination: None, indirect, or direct
  • Area: The total area of all window signs cannot exceed ⅓ the area of the window that the sign is on

Temporary signs

Within neighborhood commercial and residential-commercial districts, temporary signs for the sale, lease, construction, or alteration of a building are allowed. 

These signs must be removed immediately when the activity is completed.

  • Number of signs: 1 per building
  • Illumination:
    • Sale or lease sign: none or indirect
    • Persons or companies affiliated with construction or alteration: none
  • Area: Maximum of 50 square feet
  • Height: Cannot extend above the roofline
  • Projection: Cannot project past street property line
  • In neighborhood commercial districts:
    • All controls for the zoning district the property is located in must be followed

Rules in specific districts

NC-1 and NCT-1 districts 

Mission Street NCT, NC-3, and NCT-3 Neighborhood Commercial Districts

RC, NC-2, NCT-2, and NC-S districts and neighborhood-commercial districts including:

  • Broadway
  • Castro Street
  • Inner Clement Street and Outer Clement Street
  • Divisadero Street
  • Excelsior Outer Mission Street
  • Fillmore Street and Upper Fillmore Street
  • Folsom Street
  • Glen Park
  • Inner Sunset
  • Irving Street
  • Haight Street
  • Hayes-Gough
  • Japantown
  • Judah Street
  • Upper Market Street
  • Noriega Street
  • North Beach
  • Ocean Avenue
  • Pacific Avenue
  • Polk Street
  • Regional Commercial District
  • Sacramento Street
  • SoMa
  • Taraval Street
  • Union Street
  • Valencia Street
  • 24th Street-Mission
  • 24th Street-Noe Valley
  • West Portal Avenue

Special Sign Districts

Some areas are located in Special Sign Districts. Use the property information map to find your building’s zoning district.

Email the Planning Information Center (PIC) at for more information.

Last updated May 19, 2022