Understanding and addressing a planning infringement notice for Business Signage

Image of front of restaurant with aframe sign on footpath

Running a business comes with a variety of responsibilities, including ensuring that your signage complies with local planning regulations. Melbourne City Council for example, actively monitor business identification signage within the municipality to ensure compliance with guidelines and policies and are well known for issuing infringement notices.

If you’ve received a Planning Infringement Notice from your local Council regarding illegal business identification signage, it’s crucial to understand what this means and how to rectify the issue.

A Planning Infringement Notice is issued when your business signage does not comply with local planning regulations. This could be due to the size, placement, content, illumination, or the presence of signage without proper approval. The notice is a formal warning that requires your immediate attention to avoid fines or further legal actions.

There are several reasons why your signage might be considered illegal:

  • Non-compliance with size and placement regulations: Signage that triggers the need for a planning permit for buildings and works and/or is too large, too high, or placed in an unauthorized location.
  • Lack of necessary permits: Erecting signage without obtaining the required planning permits.
  • Inappropriate content: Signage displaying prohibited content or not adhering to local advertising standards.
  • Illumination issues: Signs that are illuminated in a way that is not compliant with local regulations.
  • Planning Overlays: The location of the signage may be impacted by a Heritage Overlay, which can be very restrictive when it comes to allowable signage, including painting a heritage building. Similarly, the site may be covered by a Design and Development Overlay (DDO) 2, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26 – 37, 40, 44 – 63, 65, 66, 67, 70, 71, 72, 74, 80, 81, 82, 83.
  1. Review the Planning Infringement Notice carefully: Start by reading the notice thoroughly to understand the specific regulations you have violated and what changes need to be made. Pay close attention to the deadline for compliance to avoid further penalties.
  2. Check your local signage regulations: Familiarise yourself with your Council’s Planning Scheme to understand the requirements for business signage. Determine if your signage requires a planning permit and if you have obtained it, or whether there is an existing approval on the land that can be relied upon.
  3. Assess your signage: Compare your current signage with the Council’s requirements. Ensure your signage meets the size, height, and placement requirements outlined in the local Planning Scheme.
  4. Make necessary changes: Adjust your signage to comply with the requirements. This may involve:
    • Resizing: Ensure the dimensions of your signage are within the allowed limits.
    • Relocating: Move the signage to an approved location.
    • Redesigning: Modify the design to meet content and illumination standards.

    If a planning permit is required, you will need to apply for it from your Council.

  5. Consult a professional Town Planning Consultant: Consider consulting a planning consultant, like us here at AS Planning, or a legal advisor to ensure full compliance with local regulations. If modifications are needed, a professional signage company may also need to assist with the changes. If you need help with your planning permit application or require professional advice, please reach out.
  6. Submit evidence of compliance: Document the changes made to your signage by taking photographs or providing necessary documentation. Inform your Council of your compliance and submit the evidence as required.

Additional tips for resolving a planning infringement notice for Business Signage

  • Appeal Process: If you believe the notice was issued in error, check if there is an appeal process available and the steps to follow.
  • Future Compliance: Stay updated on local signage regulations to ensure future compliance and avoid similar issues.

Receiving a Planning Infringement Notice can be daunting, but by understanding the reasons behind it and taking prompt corrective actions, you can resolve your business signage issue efficiently.

Ensuring that your business signage complies with local regulations not only avoids legal troubles but also contributes to a well-ordered and aesthetically pleasing community. Always stay informed and proactive about planning compliance to keep your business running smoothly. Contact us for assistance with business signage permit applications and any other planning matters.