How it works
A sign is any advertising device designed mainly to attract attention.
You may need resource consent to put up a sign on your property if the sign:
- will be visible to the public, and
- doesn't meet the District Plan criteria for your area.
You may need a building consent to put up a sign or billboard if:
- any face of the sign is more than 6 square metres, and
- the sign will be more than 3 metres above supporting ground level, and
- the design hasn't been carried out or reviewed by a chartered professional engineer.
You don't need a building consent if the design of your sign or billboard, including mounting and any foundation details, has been carried out or reviewed by a chartered professional engineer.
If you want to put up a sign on Council land
There are different rules for putting up signs on Council land, including election hoardings, flyers and things like sandwich boards.
Guidelines for temporary signs in public spaces [PDF]
Election hoardings guidelines
If your sign is advertising a small business you run from your home
The rules are slightly different depending on the zone you live in.
Run a business from home
1. Find out if you need a resource consent
If your sign doesn't meet the District Plan criteria for your area, you'll need to get a resource consent.
To check if you need consent or any other Council permissions, contact a planning technician on 04 801 3590 or email@example.com.
Check which activity area your property is in
Enter your address into our ePlan and check the zoning under the Map Legend.
ePlan – our District Plan online
Criteria for permanent signs in residential areas
You don't need a resource consent to put up a permanent sign in a residential area if your sign:
- is under 0.5 square metres and no higher than 2 metres off the ground
- only displays the name or purpose of an activity permitted on the site, for example your business name or "bed and breakfast"
- is not illuminated.
You may need a resource consent to display more than one sign, or if your sign doesn't meet all of these criteria.
Criteria for temporary signs in residential areas
You don't need a resource consent to put up a temporary sign (for example, a real estate sign or an ad for a local event) in a residential area as long as the sign is:
- under 3 square metres and no higher than 4 metres off the ground
- put up no more than 28 days before the event and removed within 7 days of the end of the event
- within the boundaries of your property.
You may need a resource consent if your sign doesn't meet all of these criteria.
Criteria for other areas
To find out whether signs in other areas of the city will need a resource consent, check the District Plan conditions for your property.
2. Pre-application meeting
If you need a resource consent to put up your sign, we recommend you meet with us before you apply to discuss your plans and get some advice.
Bring to the meeting scaled plans showing:
- what the sign will look like
- where it will be located in relation to features on a building, like windows.
Resource consent pre-application meetings
3. Sign design guide assessment
As part of your application, you will need to provide an assessment against the sign design guide if your sign or billboard will be:
- in a Business 1 area (for example, the area around Outlet City in Tawa)
- in a Business 2 area (for example, the semi-industrial area near Wellington Airport)
- within a town centre (like Newtown town centre)
- in the central area (the central city).
Sign design guide (558KB PDF)
- must be in scale and compatible with the building or site on which they are located.
- must fit in well with their context and complement the surrounding area
- should not be oversized, brightly illuminated or moving, or create visual clutter in an area
- must be assessed from a road safety perspective
- need a maintenance plan to keep the sign looking current.
We recommend you get your your architect, draughtsperson, urban designer or consultant planner to prepare this assessment as they should be familiar with what we need.
The Resource Consents team is available Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm.
Phone: 04 801 3590