A sign is the most prevalent mass communication medium and has a strong impact on the environment. Signs transmit messages beyond the boundaries of the sites on which they are located. Thus, they become the concern of all persons who inhabit or use an area.
The City of Santa Barbara recognizes that a sign is an integral part of the cityscape and, as such, can detract from or enhance the City’s image and character. The City first adopted a sign ordinance in 1922. In 1960, the City began reviewing certain types of signs. Purview has expanded by stages through Ordinance amendments in 1977, 1981 and 1995. Now all signs - permanent or temporary - are subject to review by the City's Sign Committee in accordance with the Sign Review Guidelines.