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Section 2: Moving Certain Off-Premise Signs (for State)

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Many off-premise signs within the taking cannot be moved onto the remainder property under the requirements of TxDOT’s Right of Way Manual Vol. 7 - Beautification. This often results in increased State expenditure and the delay of highway construction.

This section provides for movement of certain off-premise signs within the taking along Interstate or Federal Primary Highways to the remainder property on the same side of the highway that would otherwise be precluded under the Right of Way Manual Vol. 7 - Beautification, Chapter 8. All requirements under TxDOT’s Right of Way Manual Vol.7 - Beautification, are to be complied with, if not in conflict with the provisions of this section. Whenever it is determined that a sign falls into this particular category, the following value, sign criteria, and waiver of damages requirements apply.

When the sign owner agrees to receive relocation benefits, the Department may issue a permit subject to the conditions set forth in this section.

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Sign Criteria

A new sign permit application will be submitted but will not require a permit fee.

Sign relocation will be in accordance with all local codes, ordinances, and applicable laws.

The Department will initially determine that a permit is necessary to avoid excessive project costs or a delay in project completion.

The existing sign to be relocated must be an off-premise sign that is legally erected and maintained.

The sign must be relocated according to the following priority:

  • To the remainder, if any, of the same land parcel upon which it was situated before relocation; or
  • If there is no suitable remainder for relocation of the sign, then to property abutting the highway at the original location or to property abutting the unsuitable remainder, if available.

The sign will be relocated to the same relative line of sight position and will not be placed more than 3,000 feet away from the original sign location.

Except as provided in the paragraph following the list below , the relocated sign may not be located:

  • To cause a driver to be unduly distracted in any way, or to obscure or otherwise interfere with the effectiveness of an official traffic sign, signal, or device.
  • To obstruct or interfere with the driver's view of approaching, merging, or intersecting traffic, whether the intersection is with a highway(s) or a railroad(s).
  • Within 500 feet of any public park, public forest, public playground, or scenic area designated by an authorized governmental agency, which is located adjacent to the highway.
  • Adjacent to or within 500 feet of interchanges, at-grade intersections, and rest areas along Interstate and freeway Federal primary highways outside incorporated municipalities.
  • Outside incorporated municipalities in areas adjacent to ramps between the main traveled way of Interstate and freeway Federal primary highways and adjacent to, or within 500 feet of, frontage roads or their acceleration and deceleration lanes. Distances are measured along the highway from the nearest point of pavement widening at the exit from, or entrance to, the main traveled way.
  • Along Interstate and freeway Federal primary highways at less than a 500-foot spacing on the same side of the highway.
  • Along non-freeway Federal primary highways located outside of incorporated cities, towns, or villages at less than a 300-foot spacing on the same side of the highway.
  • Along non-freeway Federal primary highways in incorporated cities, towns, or villages at less than a 100-foot spacing on the same side of the highway.
  • Within five feet of any highway right of way line.

The relocated sign size must conform to the following provisions:

  • The maximum allowable single sign area is 672 square feet, with a maximum height of 25 feet and a maximum length of 60 feet, including border and trim, but excluding the base, apron, supports, and other structural members.
  • The maximum size limitations apply to each side of a sign structure or structures visible to approaching traffic.
  • The area is to be measured as the smallest square, rectangle, triangle, circle, or combination thereof, which will encompass the entire sign.
  • * The sign may be placed back-to-back, side-by-side, stacked, or in a "V" type configuration with no more than two displays on each face. This type of sign structure is considered one sign.
  • A sign exceeding 350 square feet may not be stacked or placed side-by-side.
  • In no case shall the size of the sign face or lighting, if any, of the relocated sign exceed the size or lighting, if any, of the existing sign.

The Department will approve the relocation site prior to removal of the existing sign.

The spacing requirements provided in the preceding “location” paragraph do not apply to:

  • Signs separated by buildings, natural surroundings, or other obstructions which cause only one sign located within the specified spacing to be visible at any one time; and
  • On-premise, directional, or official signs, as cited in the Highway Beautification Act, Transportation Code, §391.031. Measurements will not be made from these signs.

There are special considerations for unzoned commercial or industrial areas. An unzoned commercial or industrial area is an area along the highway right of way that has not been zoned under authority of law, that is not predominantly used for residential purposes, and is within 800 feet (measured along the highway right of way edge) of the principal part of one or more recognized commercial or industrial activities. These recognized commercial or industrial activities must be located within 200 feet of the highway right of way. The area to be considered, based upon the qualifying activities, will be:

  • A total of 1,600 feet (800 feet on either side) plus the commercial or industrial activity frontage, measured along the highway right of way by a depth of 660 feet.
  • Located on the same side of the highway as the principal part of the qualifying activities.
  • Considered predominantly residential if, taken as a whole, more than 50% of the area is used for residential purposes. Roads and streets with residential property on both sides will be considered residential. Other roads and streets will be considered non-residential.

When a commercial or industrial activity ceases and a sign, other than an exempt sign, is no longer located within 800 feet of at least one recognized commercial or industrial activity located on the same side of the highway, the sign must be removed not later than five years following cessation of the commercial or industrial activity.

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Waiver of Damages

If a sign is relocated according to the previous "Sign Criteria" subsection, the sign owner must enter into written agreement with TxDOT waiving any claim for damages against the State for taking the sign, in consideration of payment by TxDOT of relocation benefits for the relocated sign.

Coordinate sign movement with personnel who are familiar with the Highway Beautification Program so that applicable regulatory provisions are met.

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