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Official City and County Signs

Distance SignsOfficial signs authorized by local jurisdictions that display general noncommercial destination information. To qualify as an official city, county or public agency sign, the sign must:

  • Be erected and maintained by a public officer or agency (a city or county can authorize a group to erect and maintain the sign on their behalf).
  • Be erected within the territorial or zoning jurisdiction of the public officer or agency (a city may extend two miles outside its corporate limits under extraterritorial zoning).
  • Be erected according to directions or authorizations contained in federal, state or local law (an ordinance, resolution or law authorizing erection of the sign must be passed).
  • Be erected for the purpose of carrying out an official duty or responsibility.
  • Be located beyond the highway right-of-way at a location that will not obstruct the vision of a driver approaching an intersection;
  • Not imitate or resemble traffic control devices governed by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devises (MUTCD);
  • Not contain any commercial message or business name.
Official City and County Signs

Local jurisdictions and agencies have considerable latitude in the type of messages that can be displayed on the signs. Messages that provide a welcome at entrance points, identify jurisdiction boundary lines, direct motorists to public buildings, parks or recreation areas, or which generally reference motorist services and community attractions are acceptable. Messages that include specific business names, products, commercial messages or promotions for private non-profit groups, however, are not allowed on this type of sign.

The local jurisdiction or public agency would just need to secure a lease or other interest in a site to erect such a sign. No approval or involvement by the DOT is required. However, the department would be willing to assist cities, counties and public agencies in meeting the requirements needed to qualify for official signing.

If you have any questions regarding Official City or Official County signs, please contact the Iowa DOT's Agent Brooks Glasnapp at 515-239-1255