Published On: Sun, Aug 19th, 2012

New Regulations For Signage in DC Including 4 Designated Entertainment Areas

Verizon Center

Looks like Ted got his wish. Only he did it the hard way.

DC is rewriting the books on signage, and though it’s about to get tougher to put up signs, there are four “designated entertainment areas” including Gallery Place, Verizon Center, the Southwest waterfront and the ballpark area that will get some special treatment.

Monumental Sports and Entertainment, owner of Verizon Center, won permission from the D.C. Council only last month to add new digital billboards to the outside of the arena. It appears that if Ted Leonsis had waited another month he could have gotten those signs through the regulatory process, rather than a painful legislative one.

In addition to signage in the “designated entertainment areas,” signs all over the city are being affected. Now I’m not a fan of clutter, but some of the regulations appear to be a bit restrictive.

For instance, no signs on vehicles unless it’s advertising the owner of the vehicle. Except for Metro and Circulator buses. I have no issues with ads on tour buses, tops of cabs or the makeshift ads people create themselves. And though it doesn’t eliminate sidewalk signs, the ones that restaurants put out advertising happy hour and lunch specials, charging a $50 fee for businesses to advertise is a bit petty. The regulations should regulate legal and illegal signs and not attempt to make money off the signs. Sure, it’s only $50, but those signs aren’t taking anything away from the vistas, the scenery or the environment.


I do like that large signs can’t be put on vacant or blighted buildings. Though I’m not sure what classifies as a “large” sign. I hope it includes campaign signs. It’s understood that signs posted on private property signifies that the owner of the property endorses and supports the candidate. But when the building is vacant and has campaign signs of all the candidates running, it kind of defeats the purpose and creates an eyesore. And after the elections, the signs sit there far too long.

And I do appreciate that DC isn’t swarming in billboards. Any billboards not approved before 1931 have to come down. That will leave only six billboards in DC. Amazing. Even more amazing is that five of them are in NE.

If you have nothing better to do, you can read the rest of the regulations in this 70-plus page document.

Leave a comment

You must be Logged in to post comment.


About the Author

David Gaines

- David Gaines is a Washington, DC, resident transplanted from North Carolina whose dream career was a newspaper writer but settled for the recruiting industry and simply blogging about whatever thoughts crosses his mind.