A-Frame Sign Program: Old Town Central Business District, 2011

Information, requirements and applications regarding Old Town's A-Frame Sign program.

Page updated on Jun 15, 2016 at 4:49 PM

Note: In 2015an Ad Hoc Group was established to review zoning regulations pertaining to Digital and Portable A-Frame Signs. New policies have been adopted to replace the A-Frame program. For more information please visit www.alexandriava.gov/83596.

A-Frame Signs 

In June 2011, Planning Commission and City Council approved a zoning text amendment permitting A-frame signs as an allowed use in the zoning ordinance for eligible retail and restaurant owners in the Old Town Central Business District.  All current and prospective permit holders will need to complete a new application (posted below) and fabricate a new sign that complies with requirements.  Prior to completing the new application, please review the A-Frame Quick Guide below and call the contacts below with any questions.

Planning & Zoning staff are available to answer questions regarding the program and the application process, please contact staff at 703.746.4333. 

How to Apply for a Permit: Application Checklist

  1. Check to see if your business is eligible to participate by reviewing the map showing location of eligible businesses and where sign may be placed. 
  2. Review the permit application form for regulations and parameters of the program. 
  3. Contact all eligible businesses in your sign zone to see if they would like to participate in a combined A-frame sign.  Businesses are responsible for coordinating among the other eligible businesses on the block to create an acceptable sign, and otherwise comply with the ordinance. Complete the List of Participating Business form for all businesses that were contacted and have agreed/declined to participate in the program. 
  4. Contact a sign fabricator and develop sign specification plans (showing size, text, materials, colors and method of installation).  Include a photo or plan showing sign location.  Click here for information on the approved A-Frame design (contact staff if you would like the Adobe Illustrator file to use as a template).  
  5. Submit a completed and signed permit application form in the Permit Center, Room 4200, or Planning and Zoning, Room 2100, in City Hall.  Complete applications will include the following items:
  6. Permit holders are asked to abide by the following reminders:
    • signs that appear worn, damaged or otherwise ill-maintained should be replaced;
    • there should be no additional items taped or otherwise attached to the original sign;
    • blocks that have undergone business changes are required to update their signs in order to provide visitors and residents with accurate information; and
    • signs must not block sidewalks and ADA ramps.  

Program History

On November 25, 2008, the Alexandria City Council voted to adopt an emergency ordinance to establish a pilot program to allow temporary portable signs alerting King Street pedestrians to restaurant and retail-oriented businesses in the Central Business District (generally located between Duke and Queen Streets, east of West Street, in Old Town) but not located on King Street.  On October 27, 2009, City Council unanimously voted to extend the ordinance allowing the temporary portable signs in Old Town until June 2011. On June 28, 2011, City Council adopted an ordinance to include the A-Frame sign program in the City's Zoning Ordinance.