Sign Permits Section

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Regular hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday - Friday. Check the DPD Operating Status webpage for more information.

TTY 711

12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 829
Fairfax, VA 22035

Leslie Johnson,
Zoning Administrator

Motor Vehicle Fuel Price Signs in Fairfax County

Motor vehicle fuel price signs are allowed to be installed at all service stations operating in Fairfax County after a review and approval of the design and location by the Zoning Inspections Branch of the proposed signage.

Sect. 10-4.1.2 of the Fairfax County Code details sign limitations for Motor Vehicle Fuel Price Signs.  The sign limitations detailed in Section 10-4.1.2 include: area, height, setback, sign type, font type and letter-numeral size, fractions or decimals, gallons or v liters, contrasting color, heavy type face or stroke, etc.

  • Motor vehicle fuel price signs may be designed as a free standing sign. If installed at 8 or less feet in height from grade, a Zoning review is required to determine if the proposed sign is in compliance with the limitations specified in Sect.10-4.1.2 of the County Code. This review routinely occurs during the Building Permit application process or when a sign is replaced. Motor vehicle fuel price signs installed 8 feet or less in height are required to be no greater than 20 square feet in area. The sign area of a motor vehicle fuel price sign is calculated by the dimensions of the cabinet that contains the sign. The area of a motor vehicle fuel price sign, based on a height of 8 feet or less, will not be deducted from the area of the free standing enterprise sign allowed for a service station.
  • As an alternative, should the motor vehicle fuel price sign be installed at a height more than 8 feet above grade on a; pylon, ground-mounted sign, or free standing sign, the area of the motor vehicle fuel price sign will be included in the sign area allowed to be displayed on the individual enterprise's free standing sign. And, a separate Sign Permit application will need to be submitted, reviewed and approved by the Sign Permits Section prior to installation. A separate Building and electrical permit applications may also be required to be reviewed and approved by the Land Development Services (LDS) in accordance with the various State and local Codes and Ordinances administrated by that agency.

Section 10-4.1-2 - Size and content of signs

All signs required by this Article shall meet the following specifications:

(a) The area of the sign identifying motor vehicle fuel prices shall not exceed a maximum area of twenty (20) square feet.

(b) The sign may be located on an existing freestanding sign, existing light standard or new post or pole; but in no event shall the sign exceed a height of eight (8) feet. Any new sign structure shall, in no instance, project beyond any property line nor be within five (5) feet of any curbline of any service drive, travel lane or adjoining street. No such sign shall be a portable sign as defined in the Zoning Ordinance.

(c) A sign permit and annual inspection of freestanding signs shall be required as provided for in the Zoning Ordinance, except that there shall be no fees for such permit or annual inspections.

(d) Arabic numerals shall be used to express the minimum retail price, and the numerals shall be of uniform size and at least eight (8) inches high. The height of such numerals shall not be more than twice the dimension of the width. Whenever an advertised price includes a fraction of a cent, the numerals expressing the fraction shall be immediately adjacent to, of the same general design and style as, and at least one-half (½) the height and width of the numerals representing the whole cent (i.e., 29 8/10 or 1298).

(e) The designation of the kind of motor vehicle fuel shall be positioned on the sign so as to be adjacent to the current price for the particular kind of motor vehicle fuel. The letters shall be at least one-fourth (¼) the size of the numerals representing the price, and the height of these letters shall not be more than twice the dimension of the width. When more than one (1) kind of motor vehicle fuel is named on the sign, the price for leaded regular motor vehicle fuel shall appear first on the sign, followed by the price for unleaded regular motor vehicle fuel sold on the premises. The sign shall also state whether its prices are for full-service or self-service in letters at least one-half (½) the size of the numerals representing the price, and the height of the letter shall not be more than twice the dimension of the width.

(f) The colors of the Arabic numerals, letters, decimal points and periods shall contract with the field of the sign to provide maximum visibility and legibility. The field of the sign shall be a solid color. All numerals and letters which are a part of the signs referred to in this Article shall have a medium or heavy type face or stroke and shall be plainly visible.

(g) The signs required by this Article shall not block sight distance for persons entering and exiting the premises, nor shall the sign mislead a consumer or constitute a fraud upon a consumer.

(h) Nothing in this Article is intended to preclude the placement of other pertinent information regarding the sale of motor vehicle fuel, such as hours of operation, on the signs required by this Article, provided that any letters, figures or numerals used shall not be larger than the letters used to indicate the kind of motor vehicle fuel being dispensed.

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