In an effort to be in compliance with federal case law and to have an enforceable sign ordinance, the Los Altos City Council unanimously approved two new sign ordinances this week. The ordinances dealing with signs on private and public property will be enforced starting December 30. A final version of the ordinances will be released shortly, but here’s a view of the draft ordinances.

There are changes included in the new ordinances that impact REALTORS®. The biggest change is when it will be permissible to place an open house sign on public property. These amendments were necessary to ensure that the sign rules had reasonable time and place restrictions for open house signs to prevent a legal challenge similar to what occurred in Menlo Park and led to a citywide ban of all signs on public property.

Here is a brief overview of the new rules for real estate and open house signs for Los Altos:

Residential on-site signs:
• One non-illuminated for sale sign allowed per property.
• For sale sign can be no taller than six feet in height and the sign face no larger than four square feet.
• Up to 12 square feet of real estate signage is allowed per property, which allows for both an A-frame open house sign and a for sale sign to be placed on private property at the same time.
• There are no day or time restrictions for real estate signs on private property.

Residential off-site open house signs:
• Size: A-frame signs no larger than four square feet per face, plus two riders, can be no taller than 32 inches.
• Location: Only on sidewalks where it does not obstruct pedestrian or bicycle access, cannot be placed on any medians or on the expressway right-of-way.
• Number per intersection: A single open house can only have one sign per intersection.
• Time restrictions: Signs will only be permitted during the following days and times:
o Friday: 9 AM-1:30 PM
o Saturday, Sunday and Holidays: 11:30 AM – 6 PM

A final version of the ordinance will be distributed to members once it is available.