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Section 5: Sign Standards

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Overview

The following standards apply to signs controlled by the State along rural roads that are not otherwise exempt.

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Location

Written permission must be obtained from the landowner before erecting a sign on someone else's property. All signs, except on-premise signs, must be located within 800 feet of at least one adjacent recognized commercial or industrial activity or the office of a governmental entity. The commercial or industrial activity or office building must be located on the same side of the road as the sign. The commercial or industrial activity must be located within 200 feet of the road right of way. The following activities do not qualify as commercial or industrial activities:

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  • Outdoor advertising structures.
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  • Agricultural, forestry, ranching, grazing, farming and related activities.
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  • Activities not housed in a permanent building or structure with functioning water, sewage and electrical connections.
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  • Activities conducted in a building primarily used as a residence.
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  • Railroad right of way.
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  • Activities that are not within 200 feet of the edge of the right of way.
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  • Seasonal activities or activities not conducted at least 25 hours per week on at least 5 days per week.
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  • Activities conducted in a building that has less than 400 square feet of floor space devoted to such activities.
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  • Activities not conducted by human beings (for example, automatic teller machines).
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  • Activities which have not been conducted at its present location for at least 180 days.
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Face Restrictions

The maximum face area for an on-premise sign, other than an on-premise wall sign, is 400 square feet, including cutouts, but excluding uprights, trim and apron.

The maximum face area for an off-premise sign is 672 square feet, excluding uprights, base, trim and apron, with a maximum length of 60 feet and a maximum height of 25 feet.

Neither an on-premise sign face nor an off-premise sign face may have a cutout with an area larger than 20 percent of the surface copy area of the sign face.

No sign may have more than two faces fronting a particular direction of travel on the main traveled way.

Signs may not be placed back-to-back or in a V-type configuration with more than one face facing a particular direction of travel.

Faces consisting of commercial electronic variable message signs (CEVMS) - otherwise referred to as rotating slat signs or tri-vision signs - may be used, provided that the rotation is completed within one second and the message is stationary for at least 10 seconds following a rotation.

Each face area of a double-faced, back-to-back, or V-type sign is considered to be a separate sign for the purpose of computing the face area.

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Height

The maximum overall height is 42-1/2 feet, excluding cutouts extending above the rectangular border, measured from the highest point of the sign to the grade level of the roadway from which the sign is to be viewed.

The maximum height of an open roof sign having a tight or solid surface is 24 feet above the roof level.

The maximum height of an open roof sign, in which the uniform open area is not less than 40% of the total gross area, is 40 feet above the roof level.

The lowest point of a projecting sign must be at least 14 feet above grade.

The height measurement does not include any renewable energy device such as solar panels or wind turbines that are attached to the sign structure above the sign face to improve the energy efficiency of the sign structure.

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Spacing

An off-premise sign with a face area of 301 square feet or more may not be closer than 1,500 feet to another off-premise sign on the same side of the roadway.

An off-premise sign having a sign face area of at least 100 but less than 301 square feet may not be located within 500 feet of another permitted off-premise sign having a sign face within that range or within 1500 feet of a permitted off-premise sign that has a sign face of at least 301 square feet and is on the same side of the roadway.

An off-premise sign having a face area of less than 100 square feet may not be located within 150 feet of another permitted off-premise sign having a sign face of less than 100 square feet, within 500 feet of a permitted sign with a face area of at least 100 but less than 301 square feet, or within 1,500 feet of a permitted off-premise sign with a face area of at least 301 square feet that is on the same side of the roadway.

The above spacing rules do not apply to signs located at the same intersection, provided (1) they are located so their messages are directed towards traffic flowing in different directions, and (2) they are not visible from the main traveled way of an interstate or primary highway.

An off-premise sign may only be erected within 800 feet of at least one recognized commercial or industrial activity, or the office of a governmental entity. The commercial or industrial activity or office building must be on the same side of the rural road as the sign.

Off-premise signs may not be erected within 5 feet of any rural road right of way line.

Signs may not be located in such a manner as to:

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  • create a safety hazard;
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  • obscure or otherwise interfere with the effectiveness of an official traffic sign, signal or device;
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  • obstruct or interfere with the driver's view of approaching, merging or intersecting traffic; or
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  • be likely to cause a driver to be unduly distracted in any way.

For spacing purposes, multiple faced off-premise signs under common ownership, whether double-faced, back-to-back, or of V-type construction, shall be considered to be one sign provided they are either:

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Lighting

Signs may be illuminated, subject to the following restrictions:

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  • signs that contain, include or are illuminated by any flashing, intermittent or moving light or lights are prohibited, except those giving only public service information such as time, date, temperature, weather or similar information;
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  • contain upward lighting of no more than four luminaires per direction of the sign face or faces of the structure;
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  • contain downward lighting of no more than four luminaires per direction of the sign face or faces of the structure;
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  • no sign shall be so illuminated that it interferes with the effectiveness of, or obscures, an official traffic sign, device or signal;
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  • may not be of such intensity or brilliance as to cause vision impairment of a driver of any motor vehicle on a regulated rural road or otherwise interfere with the driver's operation of a motor vehicle;
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  • reflective paint or reflective disks may not be used if they create the illusion of flashing or moving lights;
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  • neon lights may not be used if they flash, or cause undue distraction to the traveling public.
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Wind Load Pressure

Signs, other than exempt signs, must meet the wind load pressure requirements set out in Wind Load Pressure for signs on interstate or primary highways. The sign owner must certify that a sign will withstand wind load pressures as specified.

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Height, in feet above ground, as measured above the average level of the ground adjacent to the structure

Pressure, pounds per square foot

0 – 5

0

6 – 30

20

31 – 50

25

51 – 99

35

100 – 199

45

200 – 299

50

300 – 399

55

400 – 500

60

501-800

70

Over 800

77



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Repair and Maintenance

Signs should be kept in good repair. Sign facings may be removed and replaced or repainted.

The following are considered to be routine maintenance activities that do no require an amended permit:

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  • the replacement of nuts and bolts;
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  • nailing, riveting, or welding;
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  • cleaning and painting;
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  • manipulation of the sign structure to level or plumb it;
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  • changing of the advertising message;
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  • the replacement of minor parts if the materials of the minor parts are the same type as those being replaced and the basic design or structure of the sign is not altered;
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  • changing all or part of the sign face structure but only if materials similar to those of the sign face being replaced are used; and
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  • upgrading existing lighting for an energy efficient lighting system.

The following are considered to be customary maintenance activities that may be made but require an amended permit prior to the initiation of such an activity:

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  • replacement of poles, but only if not more than one-half of the total number of poles of the sign structure are replaced in any 12 month period and the same material is used for the replacement poles; and
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  • adding a catwalk to the sign structure.

The following are examples of substantial changes that may be made but require an amended permit application before the initiation of such an activity. Each of the following actions requires an Amended Permit Application:

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  • adding lights to an unilluminated sign or adding more intense. lighting to an illuminated sign whether or not the lights are attached to the sign structure;
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  • changing the number of poles in the sign structure;
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  • adding permanent bracing wires, guy wires, or other reinforcing devices;
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  • changing the material used in the construction of the sign structure, such as replacing wooden material with metal material;
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  • adding faces to a sign or changing the sign configuration;
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  • increasing the height of the sign;
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  • changing the configuration of the sign structure, such as changing a "V" sign to a stacked or back to back sign, or a single face sign to a back-to back sign; and
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  • moving the sign structure or sign face in any way.

If the sign is nonconforming, a new sign permit cannot be issued.

No person may erect, repair or maintain a sign while that person or the equipment being used is on the highway right of way.

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