Campaign / Election Signs

It is expected that candidates for the various elected offices will want to use campaign signs to promote their candidacy.  The City of Lake Forest is requesting that all candidates review and comply with the following excerpts from the Lake Forest Municipal Code on the placement of temporary noncommercial signs (which include campaign signs).  The following regulations apply:

Signs Posted on Public Property are Prohibited 

Any illegally posted temporary noncommercial signs in the public right of way or upon public property constitute a public nuisance and will be removed immediately.  (Lake Forest Municipal Code Section 9.164.100)

The City’s policy is to remove illegal signs, tag with an identification mark and store at the southwest dumpster enclosure of the Civic Center Administration Building located at 100 Civic Center Drive, Lake Forest.  The location is outside the police secured parking lot.  Violator will be contacted and allowed three (3) business days to pick up the sign(s).  Thereafter, if not claimed, the signs will be discarded.  Temporary noncommercial signs removed from public property and previously tagged for impound will be discarded.  (Lake Forest Municipal Code Section 9.164.160.A)

Permitted Signs Posted on Private Property

Temporary noncommercial signs may be posted on private property subject to the following criteria:

Table 9.164.110A - Temporary Signs Permitted 


Development Sign Standards

Additional Standards/Regulations

Temporary Noncommercial Sign (Campaign Signs)

 Permit required:     None

Maximum number:     On private property only; 1 temporary noncommercial sign per street frontage per candidate or proponent/opponent of a ballot measure

Maximum size:     10 sq. ft.

Maximum height: 

Stake sign:    4 feet

Wall sign:      No higher than top of eave or parapet wall

Type:      Either stake or wall mounted

Signs shall: 
  • NOT be displayed earlier than 60 DAYS PRIOR to an election and must be 
  • REMOVED no later than 10 DAYS AFTER an election.

Signs Posted on Private Property without Permission

Code Enforcement Officers can undertake enforcement of existing Lake Forest Municipal Code sections which make posting temporary noncommercial signs on private property illegal and a public nuisance without the consent of the owner or property manager.  (Lake Forest Municipal Code Section 9.164.110)

Removal of Signs without Consent

Please note that removal of signs without consent of the sign owner is against the law.  California Penal Code Section 488 makes this a petty theft misdemeanor.  

Contact Information

  • Signs on Private Property, please contact Code Enforcement at (949) 461-3465.
  • Campaign signs on public right-of-way, please contact Public Works Maintenance Division at (949) 461-3575.  
  • General election related questions, please contact City Clerk’s Office at (949) 4691-3420.
  • To report a petty theft violation, please contact the OC Sheriff’s Department at (714) 949 770-6011.


Lake Forest Municipal Code - Campaign Sign References

9.164.100 Prohibited signs.

    All signs that are not expressly permitted under this chapter or exempt from regulation here under in accordance with the previous section shall be prohibited in the City. Prohibited signs include:

A.     Signs on public property except those serving a public purpose and approved by a government agency.

9.164.160 Removal.

    The following on-premises signs may be removed without compensation pursuant to the requirements of State law. The Director of Development Services shall notify the owner of any sign in this section and require that the sign be removed within sixty (60) days of the notice. If signs are not removed the Director of Development Services and the City Code enforcement officer(s) are authorized to commence code enforcement proceedings and removal of the signs in accordance with this chapter, this Code, and State law. If the City is required to remove any sign listed in this section, the reasonable cost of such removal shall be assessed against the owner of such sign. The cost of removal shall be established by resolution of the City Council.

    A.       Illegal Signs. Any illegal signs shall be deemed a public nuisance and shall be removed.

    B.       Abandoned Signs. All abandoned signs shall be removed. Costs incurred by the City in removing an abandoned sign or other display shall be borne by or charged to the legal owner of the real property upon which said sign is located.

    C.       Destruction. Any nonconforming sign that has been more than fifty (50) percent destroyed, and the destruction is other than facial copy, and said structure cannot be repaired within thirty (30) days from the date of its destruction shall be removed.

    D.       Remodeling or Construction Projects. In the event a nonconforming sign is located on a site where an owner or tenant remodels, expands, or enlarges the building or land use upon which the nonconforming sign is located, and the cost of the remodeling, expansion, or enlargement exceeds fifty (50) percent of the estimated cost of reconstruction of the building, or where the remodeling, expansion, or enlargement increases the total square footage of the building by fifty (50) percent or more, any nonconforming signs on the site shall be removed in conjunction with the project.

    E.       Relocation of Signs. The relocation of any nonconforming sign shall cause the relocated sign to be required to conform to the provisions of this chapter.

    F.       Agreement. An agreement between the owner of a nonconforming sign and the City for its removal as of any given date shall require the owner to remove such sign in accordance with the provisions of said agreement.

    G.       Dangerous Signs. Any signs which are or may become a danger to the public or are unsafe, or which constitute a traffic hazard not created by relocation of streets or highways or by acts of the City shall be removed.

    H.      Signs in the Public Right-of-Way. Illegal or abandoned signs posted in the public right-of-way or upon public property may be removed by the Director of Development Services and/or the City’s code enforcement officer(s) without first complying with the requirements of this chapter. Said signs shall be retained at City Hall for a period of not less than three (3) working days. Thereafter, any unclaimed signs may be discarded. (Ord. 285 § 2, 2016; Ord. 267 § 3, 2014; Ord. 260 § 1, 2014; Ord. 214 § 1, 2010)