Municipalities will agree to exceptions to their sign code if you apply for a variance. This additional application comes with a fee, detailed paperwork including proof of ownership, collated copies of the sign design and plat of survey of the property. Some municipalities ask for a small mock-up of the sign so they can see the colors and material.
The variance request goes through a series of meetings. The first is with the municipality plan commission, a group of leaders within the community who weigh in on what is allowed by code and what the petition requests. They look for hardship: is this larger sign really necessary given the visibility/traffic flow? Will the business do just as well with smaller sign? This is where having an experienced sign sales manager to present the case can be a benefit.
From there the plan commission recommends the approving the variance request to the village board. The village board meeting reviews these requests and recommendations and votes on a final approval. The process takes about 2-3 months for review and approval. However it can be worth the extra time and effort to obtain the sign that works best for your business.
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