Placement of Political Signs

Signs on Private Property

Political signs may not be placed on any private property (residential, commercial, or industrial) without the permission of the owner. State Penal Code Sections 556.1 and 593 govern this activity.

Penal Code Section 556.1
"It is a misdemeanor for any person to place or maintain or cause to be placed or maintained upon any property in which he has no estate or right of possession any sign, picture, transparency, advertisement, or mechanical device which is used for the purpose of advertising, or which advertises or brings to notice any person, article of merchandise, business or profession, or anything that is to be or has been sold, bartered, or given away, without the consent of the owner, lessee, or person in lawful possession of such property before such sign, picture, transparency, advertisement, or mechanical device is placed upon the property."

Signs on Utility Poles

PG&E prohibits the attachment of campaign signs to PG&E utility poles or other facilities. The U. S. Supreme court ruled that third parties have no right to use utility property to communicate messages to the public [pacific Gas and Electric v. Public Utilities Commission, 475 U.E.1 (1986)]

Other Sign Limitations in Emeryville

Emeryville Municipal Code Title 9, Chapter 5 Article 16 regulates the placement of temporary and permanent signs in the City. Please review these regulations carefully to avoid any unwanted enforcement actions during your campaign.

The State of California Department of Transportation has its own regulations about the placement of temporary political signs, stating that they shall not be placed within the right-of-way of any highway, or within 660 feet of the edge of and visible from the right-of-way of a classified “Landscaped freeway”. State law directs them to remove unlawfully placed signs and bill the responsible party for their removal. Please make yourself aware of these regulations and share the information with those assisting in your campaign, to avoid potential unexpected fines and embarrassment. 

Section 9-5-1605: Exempt Signs

The following signs or modifications to signs do not require design review, and, except for business signs, the area of such signs shall not be included in the maximum allowable sign area measurement for the purposes of this article. The owner of an exempt sign is responsible for its safe and attractive erection and maintenance, for obtaining a building permit where applicable, and for complying with applicable provisions of this article or any other requirements of this title.

(r) Small Noncommercial Signs. Noncommercial signs, each no larger than six (6) square feet in area, attached to a freestanding sign structure, a window, or a building wall. All businesses and residences may display up to two (2) such signs, which may include, but are not limited to, freedom of speech signs, political signs, and organization identification signs. Such signs may be located on the ground floor or upper floors of buildings and shall not be located in the public right-of-way.