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Section 11: Commercial Signs

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Eligibility

If an active, permitted, commercial sign structure is displaced by a highway construction project, then the current owner of the commercial sign permit is eligible for moving expenses, including:

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  • the expense of moving his sign a distance not to exceed 50 miles; or
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  • the loss of direct tangible personalty; or
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  • the expense of searching for a replacement sign site, not to exceed $2,500.00 (see Section 6).

The provisions of this chapter do not apply to:

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  • signs that are realty;
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  • illegally constructed commercial signs, unpermitted or abandoned signs;
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  • eligible signs that are moved or proposed to be moved to a site in violation of State, Federal, or local regulations;
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  • signs, if the owner is entitled to other payments having the same general purpose;
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  • signs owned by, and located on, the same premises as a displaced business, farm operation, or NPO. These signs are considered items of the business, farm operation, or NPO, as appropriate.

The owner of a displaced sign may be reimbursed for his reasonable moving expenses in agreement with the provisions of Types of Eligible Moving Expenses - Non-residential. Each cost submission must include a sign inventory (number of signs on the parcel), applicable section and permit numbers, and a description of the sign including its dimensions, number of poles, lighting, material types, and current advertisement.

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Special Provisions for Two-Phase Negotiated Self-Move of Advertising Signs

Since an outdoor sign move only involves one item of personal property and is not normally complex in nature, an outdoor sign may be pre-approved for a two-phase negotiated self-move into storage. This would include the first phase of the move into temporary storage and a second move from storage to a legal replacement site. Both phases of the move may be paid at the conclusion of the first phase of the move, if properly verified and documented. This allows the sign owner the ability to continue to search for a replacement site within the time limits set by Commercial Signs Regulatory Program permitting regulations (48 months) without the potential loss of relocation assistance benefits due to the URA requiring payment to be made within 18 months. No costs for modifications at the replacement site shall be eligible unless such modification would be reasonable, necessary and required of the existing sign at any replacement site.

The entire claim for documented searching expenses and storage, limited to 12 months at a third party site, may also be paid at the completion of the first phase of the move for the term approved by TxDOT.

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Value of Displaced Sign

Though most commercial signs are firmly affixed to the ground and, therefore, are considered to be real property fixtures, certain commercial signs may be portable or movable in nature and, therefore, may be considered to be personal property.

Payment for direct loss of a commercial sign that is personalty must be the lesser of:

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  • the depreciated value of the displaced sign, as determined by TxDOT, less sign sale or salvage value proceeds; or
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  • the estimated cost to dismantle and transport the sign directly to the owner’s nearest shop or storage area, not exceeding 50 miles.

Determine the depreciated value referred to above according to the procedures for commercial signs under the Commercial Signs Regulatory Program. These procedures use valuation methods based on value findings, cost schedules, and appraisals. Whether by appraisal, value finding, or cost schedules, sign evaluations are made by TxDOT personnel. When using cost schedules to determine value, apply the schedules to each sign and to determine depreciation on each sign using depreciation schedules or applicable depreciation factors established for the sign owner under the Commercial Signs Regulatory Program. Any sign not adaptable to the schedules must be appraised. A minimum value of $10 may be established for any sign.

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