Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 24. Transportation and Motor Vehicles
Agency 30. Department of Transportation
Chapter 200. Vegetation Control Regulations on State Rights-of-Way
8/14/2020

24VAC30-200-20. General Provisions.

A. Permits will be issued by the department to control vegetation in front of a sign/structure that is not exempt from the provisions of § 33.2-1204 of the Code of Virginia or business that is visible from any highway as defined in § 33.2-1200 of the Code of Virginia and regulated by the territorial limitations as defined in § 33.2-1202 of the Code of Virginia provided the vegetation control work meets the criteria set forth in § 33.2-1221 and this chapter. An application may be filed with the Commissioner of Highways by an agent, including but not limited to companies that trim trees. In all other areas the local government official shall issue the permits.

B. All cutting to make an outdoor advertising structure more visible from the roadway shall be limited to vegetation with trunk base diameters of less than six inches. All cutting to make a business more visible from the roadway shall be limited to vegetation with trunk base diameters of less than two inches. All stumps shall be treated with a cut-stump pesticide applied by a licensed pesticide applicator with a license issued by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in Category 6. All pesticides shall be approved by the department or local government official prior to use. Selective thinning in accordance with specifications or removal of unsightly vegetation will be allowed on an individual basis to enhance the health and growth of the best trees or to eliminate roadway hazards if recommended by the certified arborist supervising the work and agreed to by the department or local government official. Trees that are diseased, damaged by insects, unsightly, or that pose a safety hazard may be removed when recommended by the certified arborist supervising the work and approved by the department or local government official. When tree removal is recommended by the certified arborist and approved by this permit, the permittee shall provide a list of suitable trees and shrubs and a landscape plan to replace vegetation removed to the inspector or local government official for review and approval prior to issuance of the permit. The certified arborist and the department or local government official shall agree on size and species of replacement vegetation. The permittee shall plant, at his expense, all replacement vegetation at the locations shown on the landscape plan in accordance with the specifications. The establishment period for replacement vegetation shall be in accordance with § 605.05 of the specifications. No pruning of vegetation to make an outdoor advertising sign more visible from the roadway will be permitted if the cut at the point of pruning will exceed four inches in diameter. No pruning of vegetation to make a business more visible from the roadway will be permitted if the cut at the point of pruning will exceed two inches in diameter. No leader branches shall be cut off in such a manner as to retard the normal upright growth of the tree unless recommended by the certified arborist and approved by the department or local government official. All trees and brush removed shall be cut at ground level. Dogwood or other small flowering trees on the site shall not be removed. The use of climbing irons or spurs is positively forbidden in any tree.

C. When daylighting signs, every effort shall be made to form a picture frame around the sign with remaining vegetation so as to accent the beauty of the surrounding roadside. A picture frame effect shall be achieved by leaving vegetation in place that will cover the sign structure supports below the face as seen from the main-traveled way.

D. A permit must be obtained from the department or local government official prior to any vegetation control work on the state's rights-of-way. All work shall be performed by the permittee at his expense, including permit and inspection fees.

E. A violation of this chapter shall, in addition to penalties provided in § 33.2-1229 of the Code of Virginia, result in a permittee or its agent or both losing its vegetation control permit privilege for five years. Additionally, the bond amount used to secure the permit will be used for any reparations to the site. Inadvertent violations of this permit will require replacement on a four-to-one basis with other suitable small trees approved by the department or local government official to enhance the roadside beauty. The department or local government official shall have full authority to determine specie and size of all replacement vegetation if inadvertent cutting occurs.

Statutory Authority

§ 33.2-210 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR385-01-22 § 2, eff. January 30, 1991; amended, Volume 14, Issue 26, eff. October 14, 1998; Volume 24, Issue 04, eff. November 28, 2007; Volume 28, Issue 04, eff. November 23, 2011; Volume 31, Issue 07, eff. December 31, 2014.

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