Temporary Use Signs

New Temporary Sign Code Regulations - Effective February 1, 2024

Ordinance 3296 provides guidelines for placement of temporary signs within City right-of-way or on residential and non-residential properties. The most notable changes related to the new sign regulations are summarized below.

  • Permission from the abutting property owner is required in order to place a temporary sign in the City right-of-way;
  • A temporary sign permit is required prior to placing signs in the City to verify permission from the abutting property owner has been granted and that the sign specifications are allowed;
  • Off-premise general business signs are prohibited; 
  • Temporary signs may be up to 6 feet tall and 8 square feet in size;
  • Other changes are noted within Ordinance 3296

Are you missing a sign?

If so, check the Pulled Sign Storage (shown below) - located at 1049 State Ave

Pulled Sign Storage
Apply for a Temporary Sign Permit
Report a Noncompliant Sign


Contact: Emily Tsan

Phone: 360.363.8220

Email: etsan@marysvillewa.gov

The below table provides a general summary of the new regulations for placing temporary signs. Explore the drop-down tabs on the left to learn more about each subtopic:

  1. General Requirements
  2. Freestanding Signs
  3. SuRface Mounted Signs
  4. Window Signs
  5. Signs on 2+ Acre Properties
General Requirements
Exceptions / Notes
Permit Required? Yes. The Temporary sign permit form will be available on this website on or before January 25, 2024. No No If located on city property, a special event permit, temporary sign permit or other permission from the city is requried .
They city may allow other signs in the ROW subject to approval of a right-of-way use permit.

Can the sign be placed in a parking space, driveway or sight-distance triangle?

No No No  
Can the sign project over public streets, sidewalks or pedestrian or bike paths?

No No No A government agency can place temporary signs for public safety purposes.

Can the sign be placed in a traffic circle, roundabout, median or stormwater facility?

No No No  
General Advertising Sign Yes & No Yes Yes Only allowed on the premises where the business, commodity, or activity being advertised is sold, offered, or conducted. No off-site general advertising is allowed.
If located within the right-of-way, is permission of abutting property owner required?

You must verify the owner has provided permission within your temporary sign permit application. 
When are temporary signs required to be removed?
Promptly removed after the event by person who placed the sign. The city may remove a temporary sign in the ROW 10-days after the conclusion of the event.


Why are we changing the sign code?

The current sign code was amended to comply with the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Ariz., 576 U.S. 155, 135 S. Ct. 2218, 192 L. Ed. 2d 236 (2015). Like many other cities, Marysville’s code regulates signs by content type (such as political, ideological, directional, etc.), but the Supreme Court held that a sign code that treats various categories of signs differently based on the information they convey violates the First Amendment. In Reed, the town’s sign code defined categories of temporary signs based on their message (e.g., directional, political, or ideological) and then subjected each category to different restrictions—for example: permissible size, number of signs, and duration of display. The new ordinance treats all temporary signs the same in order to comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling.

The City has experienced an increase in temporary signs, particularly in the right-of-way. The proliferation of these signs compromises the City’s goal of preserving aesthetic value and also can distract drivers, particularly when masses of signs appear in one location.

What is a temporary sign?

A “Temporary sign” means any sign; poster; placard; stake sign or sign not placed in the ground with concrete or other means to provide permanent support, stability or rot prevention; banner; pennant; valance; or advertising display constructed of cloth, paper, canvas, cardboard, or other light nondurable materials used temporarily and is not permanently mounted, painted or otherwise affixed to a permanent structure or building. Temporary signs may only be made of nondurable materials including, but not limited to, paper, corrugated board, flexible plastics, foamcore board, and/or signs painted with water soluble paints or chalks. Signs made of other materials shall be considered permanent and are subject to the permanent sign regulations of this chapter. 

 “Temporary sign” also includes a portable sign made of wood, metal, plastic, or other durable material that is not attached to the ground or a structure. This definition includes sandwich boards, and portable reader boards if placed on private property. This definition also includes trailered signs. Signs placed on public or street right-of-way, including public sidewalks, require a sign permit under this chapter.  

Is a permit required to place a temporary sign? How do I apply?

Yes, a permit is required to place a temporary sign on property that is NOT within your ownership or control. If a private property owner would like to place a temporary sign in their front yard, out of the City right-of-way, a permit is not required but the sign must meet the requirements for the sign type (see table above for more information). 

The temporary sign application form will be available on this website on or before January 25, 2024. The form will be easy to use and staff intends to provide a very quick turnaround for approval. Once approved, a sticker will be issued to place on the sign to demonstrate to field and code enforcement staff the sign is approved for placement in certain locations. Signs should be removed after the event is over. 

How will this code limit placement of temporary signs throughout the City?

The ordinance imposes a new requirement to obtain permission from the abutting property owner to place a temporary sign. See MMC 22C.160.260(1)(f)(ii) in Ordinance 3296. Staff expects this will reduce placement of temporary signs throughout the City, reducing the number of signs particularly in problem areas and thereby maintaining aesthetic value and enhancing traffic safety.

MMC 22C.160.260(1)(f)(2ii) Permission of the abutting landowner is required. The person, organization, or business placing the sign shall provide proof of the abutting landowner’s permission. If the person, organization, or business does not provide such proof in a form acceptable to the city, the sign may be removed from the right of way by the adjacent property owner or by the City.

Requiring permission from the abutting property for every sign seems to be a lot of trouble and work for the sign owner, why is permission important?

Sign owners should already be obtaining permission from the abutting property owner as right of way typically does not appear to be distinct from the abutting property and a sign in the right of way suggests that the abutting property owner agrees with the message being conveyed by the sign. This requirement simply memorializes in the code what sign owners should already be doing.

So I need property owner permission, how do I find out who owns the property?

You can search the property address on the Snohomish County Assessor's website. By searching the property address, you can find out the owner's name and mailing address.

Access the Snohomish County Assessor's Property Search HERE.

What is considered City right-of-way? 

"Right-of-way means land acquired or dedicated for public roads and streets. Public right-of-way classified as an alley (in commercial areas only), residential access street, collector street, minor arterial, or principal arterial and which is partially or fully developed and devoted to transportation use by the public at large.

If you are unsure what areas are considered "right-of-way", please reach out to the City's Public Works Street Division - 360.363.8160.

Where is the placement of signs prohibited?

The City is authorized to keep the following areas clear of signage:
 - City buildings, fences, and properties, including public parks;
 - Utility poles;
 - Trees;
 - Dilapidated signs in the City right-of-way; and
 - Any other area of public right-of-way where placement is deemed to be a safety hazard, including medians and roundabouts.

What is considered a "Safety Hazard"?

Signage may be deemed a "safety hazard" if driver vision is impeded or it represents an obstruction or hazard to vehicular or pedestrian traffic. The City has found examples of signage being placed in specific locations matching these parameters; these locations include:
 - The landscape median of Smokey Point Blvd north of 136th St NE
 - The roundabout at 51st Ave NE and 108th St NE
 - The stormwater pond fences on 100th St NE, 67th St NE, and 4th St
 - The landscape median located on 3rd St between State Ave and 47th Ave NE
 - Freeway Park (northbound I-5 entrance on 4th St)
 - City owner property on the southeast corner of 4th St and Cedar Ave

I have seasonal decorations and signs in my yard that exceed the minimum sign size. Is this allowed? 

Yes. The new code exempts reasonable seasonal decorations. 

Will all out-of-compliance signs be enforced on? Will there be fines?

Standard enforcement procedures will be followed to regulate existing and new sign provisions. Additional emphasis on compliance will occur initially in order to educate sign owners of the new regulations. Signs placed without a temporary sign permit will be pulled by City staff if the sign owner cannot be reached to remove the sign within a short timeframe. If continued issues occur with sign placement by an individual or organization, code compliance will be notified to address the situation and fines could be levied.