Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
5/27/2022

Part I. Outdoor Advertising in Zoned and Unzoned Commercial and Industrial Areas

24VAC30-120-10. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply:

"Commercial or industrial activities" means those activities generally recognized as commercial or industrial by zoning authorities in this Commonwealth, except that none of the following activities shall be considered commercial or industrial:

1. Outdoor advertising structures.

2. Agricultural, forestry, grazing, farming, and related activities including, but not limited to, wayside fresh produce stands.

3. Transient or temporary activities.

4. Activities not visible from the main-traveled way.

5. Activities more than 300 feet from the nearest edge of the right of way.

6. Activities conducted in a building principally used as a residence.

7. Railroad tracks and minor sidings.

"National highway system" means the federal-aid highway system described in subsection (b) of § 103 of Title 23, United States Code, and regulations adopted pursuant to that law, or as defined in § 33.2-1200 of the Code of Virginia.

"Unzoned commercial or industrial areas" means those areas on which there is located one or more permanent structures devoted to a business on industrial activity or on which a commercial or industrial activity is actually conducted, whether or not a permanent structure is located thereon, and the area along the highway extending outward 500 feet from and beyond the edge of such activity. Each side of the highway will be considered separately in applying this definition.

"Zoned commercial or industrial areas" means those areas which are reserved for business, commerce, or trade pursuant to a comprehensive state or local zoning ordinance or regulation. All measurements shall be from the outer edges of the regularly used buildings, parking lots, storage or processing areas of the activities, not from the property lines of the activities, and shall be along or parallel to the edge or pavement of the highway.

Statutory Authority

§§ 33.2-210, 33.2-1200, and 33.2-1220 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR385-01-13 § 1.1, eff. April 1, 1976; amended, Virginia Register Volume 11, Issue 10, eff. March 8, 1995; Volume 31, Issue 7, eff. December 31, 2014.

24VAC30-120-20. Zoning requirements.

A. In zoned commercial and industrial areas where the locality has regulations governing the size, spacing and lighting of signs, such regulations shall control and govern when so certified to the appropriate federal authority by the commissioner.

B. In all other zoned and unzoned commercial and industrial areas, the criteria set forth in this part shall apply.

Statutory Authority

§§ 33.2-210, 33.2-1200, and 33.2-1220 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR385-01-13 § 1.2, eff. April 1, 1976; amended, Virginia Register Volume 11, Issue 10, eff. March 8, 1995.

24VAC30-120-30. Size of signs.

A. The maximum area for any advertisement shall be 1,200 square feet with a maximum height of 25 feet and maximum length of 60 feet, inclusive of any border and trim but excluding ornamental base or apron supports and other structural members.

B. The area shall be measured by the smallest square, rectangle, triangle, circle, or combination thereof which will encompass the entire advertisement.

C. A sign structure may contain one or two advertisements per facing, not to exceed the maximum area.

D. Double-faced structures will be permitted with the maximum area being allowed for each facing.

Statutory Authority

§§ 33.2-210, 33.2-1200, and 33.2-1220 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR385-01-13 § 1.3, eff. April 1, 1976; amended, Virginia Register Volume 11, Issue 10, eff. March 8, 1995.

24VAC30-120-40. Spacing of signs.

A. Interstate highway and freeways on the national highway or federal-aid primary systems.

1. No two structures shall be spaced less than 500 feet apart.

2. No structure may be located within 500 feet of an interchange, or intersection at grade, or rest area (measured along the interstate or freeway from the sign to the nearest point of the beginning or ending of pavement widening at the exit from or entrance to the main traveled way).

B. Nonfreeway federal-aid primary or national highway system routes.

1. Outside of municipalities. No two structures shall be spaced less than 300 feet apart.

2. Inside municipalities. No two structures shall be spaced less than 100 feet apart.

C. Explanatory notes.

1. Official and "on premise" signs, as defined in § 131(c) of Title 23, United States Code, shall not be counted nor shall measurements be made from them for purposes of determining compliance with spacing requirements.

2. The minimum distance between signs shall be measured along the nearest edge of the pavement between points directly opposite the signs along each side of the highway.

Statutory Authority

§§ 33.2-210, 33.2-1200, and 33.2-1220 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR385-01-13 § 1.4, eff. April 1, 1976; amended, Virginia Register Volume 11, Issue 10, eff. March 8, 1995.

24VAC30-120-50. Lighting.

Signs may be illuminated, subject to the following restrictions:

1. Signs which contain, include, or are illuminated by any flashing intermittent, or moving light or lights are prohibited, except those giving public service information such as time, date, temperature, weather, or similar information.

2. Signs which are not effectively shielded as to prevent beams or rays of light from being directed at any portion of the traveled ways of the interstate or primary highway and which are of such intensity or brilliance as to cause glare or to impair the vision of the driver of any motor vehicle, or which otherwise interfere with any driver's operation of a motor vehicle are prohibited.

3. No sign shall be so illuminated that it interferes with the effectiveness of, or obscures an official traffic sign, device, or signal.

4. All such lighting shall be subject to any other provisions relating to lighting of signs presently applicable to all highways under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth.

Statutory Authority

§§ 33.2-210, 33.2-1200, and 33.2-1220 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR385-01-13 § 1.5, eff. April 1, 1976; amended, Virginia Register Volume 11, Issue 10, eff. March 8, 1995.

24VAC30-120-60. Zoning requirements; interstate highways.

Notwithstanding 24VAC30-120-20 A and 24VAC30-120-20 B, no signs, advertisements or advertising structures may be erected, maintained or displayed adjacent to interstate highways except:

1. In zoned commercial or industrial areas within the boundaries of incorporated municipalities as such boundaries existed on September 21, 1959.

2. In other areas zoned commercial or industrial as of September 21, 1959.

Statutory Authority

§§ 33.2-210, 33.2-1200, and 33.2-1220 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR385-01-13 § 1.6, eff. April 1, 1976; amended, Virginia Register Volume 11, Issue 10, eff. March 8, 1995.

24VAC30-120-70. Certification of comprehensive zoning.

At any time that a locality adopts a comprehensive zoning ordinance which also controls outdoor advertising including size, lighting and spacing controls in zoned commercial and industrial areas, the regulation of signs under these rules and regulations shall be transferred from 24VAC30-120-20 B to 24VAC30-120-20 A when so certified to the appropriate federal authority by the commissioner. Upon the written request of such locality or any other interested party, the commissioner will review such certification request for compliance with this section.

At such time as the commissioner determines that such locality no longer has a comprehensive zoning ordinance which also controls outdoor advertising including size, lighting and spacing controls in zoned commercial and industrial areas, such certification shall be withdrawn and the regulation of signs under these rules and regulations shall be retransferred from 24VAC30-120-20 A to 24VAC30-120-20 B.

Statutory Authority

§§ 33.2-210, 33.2-1200, and 33.2-1220 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR385-01-13 § 1.7, eff. April 1, 1976; amended, Virginia Register Volume 11, Issue 10, eff. March 8, 1995.

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