Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 33.2. Highways and Other Surface Transportation Systems
8/21/2019

Article 1. General Policies and Regulations.

§ 33.2-1200. Policy; definitions.

A. In order to promote the safety, convenience, and enjoyment of travel on and protection of the public investment in highways within the Commonwealth, attract tourists and promote the prosperity, economic well-being, and general welfare of the Commonwealth, and preserve and enhance the natural scenic beauty or aesthetic features of the highways and adjacent areas, the General Assembly declares it to be the policy of the Commonwealth that the erection and maintenance of outdoor advertising in areas adjacent to the rights-of-way of the highways within the Commonwealth shall be regulated in accordance with the terms of this article and regulations promulgated by the Board pursuant thereto.

B. As used in this article, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Advertisement" means any writing, printing, picture, painting, display, emblem, drawing, sign, or similar device that is posted or displayed outdoors on real property and is intended to invite or to draw the attention of or solicit the patronage or support of the public to any goods, merchandise, real or personal property, business, services, entertainment, or amusement manufactured, produced, bought, sold, conducted, furnished, or dealt in by any person. "Advertisement" includes any part of an advertisement recognizable as such.

"Advertising structure" means any rigid or semirigid material, with or without any advertisement displayed thereon, situated upon or attached to real property outdoors, primarily or principally for the purpose of furnishing a background or base or support upon which an advertisement may be posted or displayed.

"Area of an advertising structure" means the area determined from its outside measurements, excluding as a part thereof the height and overall width of supports and supporting structure and any other portion or portions thereof beneath the normal area upon which an advertisement is posted or intended to be posted.

"Billboard sign" means any sign, advertisement, or advertising structure as defined in this section owned by a person, firm, or corporation in the business of outdoor advertising.

"Business of outdoor advertising" means the erection, use, or maintenance of advertising structures or the posting or display of outdoor advertisements by any person who receives profit gained from rentals or any other compensation from any other person for the use or maintenance of such advertising structures or the posting or display of such advertisements, except reasonable compensation for materials and labor used or furnished in the actual erection of advertising structures or the actual posting of advertisements. "Business of outdoor advertising" does not include the leasing or rental of advertising structures or advertisements used to advertise products, services, or entertainment sold or provided on the premises where the advertising structures or advertisement is located.

"Centerline of the highway" means a line equidistant from the edges of the median separating the main traveled ways of a divided highway or the centerline of the main traveled way of a nondivided highway.

"Distance from edge of a right-of-way" means the horizontal distance measured along a line normal or perpendicular to the centerline of the highway.

"Federal-aid primary highway" means any highway within that portion of the primary state highway system as established and maintained under Article 2 (§ 33.2-310 et seq.) of Chapter 3, including extensions of such system within municipalities, that has been approved by the Secretary of Transportation pursuant to 23 U.S.C. § 103(b), as that system existed on June 1, 1991.

"Highway" means every way or place of whatever nature open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel in the Commonwealth.

"Historic place, museum, or shrine" includes only places that are maintained wholly at public expense or by a nonprofit organization.

"Information center" means an area or site established and maintained at rest areas for the purpose of informing the public of places of interest within the Commonwealth and providing such other information as the Commonwealth may consider desirable.

"Interchange" means a grade separated intersection with one or more turning roadways for travel between intersection legs, or an intersection at grade, where two or more highways join or cross.

"Lawfully erected" means any sign that was erected pursuant to the issuance of a permit from the Commissioner of Highways under § 33.2-1208, unless the local governing body has evidence of noncompliance with ordinances in effect at the time the sign was erected.

"Legible" means capable of being read without visual aid by a person of normal visual acuity.

"Maintain" means to allow to exist.

"Main traveled way" means the traveled way of a highway on which through traffic is carried. In the case of a divided highway, the traveled way of each of the separated roadways for traffic in opposite directions is a main traveled way. "Main traveled way" does not include such facilities as frontage roads, turning roadways, or parking areas.

"National Highway System" means the federal-aid highway system referenced in 23 U.S.C. § 103(b), and regulations adopted pursuant thereto. For the purpose of this article, outdoor advertising controls on the National Highway System shall be implemented as those highways are designated and approved by congressional action or designation by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation and such designation and approval shall be kept on file in the central office of the Department of Transportation and placed in the minutes of the Commonwealth Transportation Board by the Commissioner of Highways. Prior to congressional approval or designation by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, highways classified as National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, Interstate System, or federal-aid primary highway as defined in this section shall be considered as the National Highway System.

"Nonconforming sign," "nonconforming advertisement," or "nonconforming advertising structure" means one that was lawfully erected adjacent to any highway in the Commonwealth but that does not comply with the provisions of state law, state regulations, or ordinances adopted by local governing bodies passed at a later date or that later fails to comply with state law, state regulations, or ordinances adopted by local governing bodies due to changed conditions.

"Person" includes an individual, partnership, association, or corporation.

"Post" means post, display, print, paint, burn, nail, paste, or otherwise attach.

"Real property" includes any property physically attached or annexed to real property in any manner whatsoever.

"Rest area" means an area or site established and maintained within or adjacent to the right-of-way or under public supervision or control for the convenience of the traveling public.

"Scenic area" means any public park or area of particular scenic beauty or historical significance designated as a scenic area by the Board.

"Sign" means any outdoor sign, display, device, figure, painting, drawing, message, placard, poster, billboard, or other thing that is designed, intended, or used to advertise or inform, any part of the advertising or informative contents of which is visible from any highway.

"Trade name" includes a brand name, trademark, distinctive symbol, or other similar device or thing used to identify particular products or services.

"Traveled way" means the portion of a roadway for the movement of vehicles, exclusive of shoulders.

"Turning roadway" means a connecting roadway for traffic turning between two intersection legs of an interchange.

"Urban area" means an urbanized area or, in the case of an urbanized area encompassing more than one state, that part of the urbanized area within the Commonwealth, or an urban place.

"Urbanized area" means an area so designated by the U.S. Census Bureau, within boundaries fixed by the Commissioner of Highways, in his discretion, in cooperation with the governing bodies of the localities affected and the appropriate federal authority. Such boundaries shall, at a minimum, encompass the entire urbanized area within a state as designated by the U.S. Census Bureau.

"Urban place" means an area so designated by the U.S. Census Bureau having a population of 5,000 or more and not within any urbanized area, within boundaries fixed by the Commissioner of Highways, in his discretion, in cooperation with the governing bodies of the localities affected and the appropriate federal authority. Such boundaries shall, at a minimum, encompass the entire urban place designated by the U.S. Census Bureau.

"Virginia byway" and "scenic highway" means those highways designated by the Board pursuant to § 33.2-405. For the purposes of this article, a Virginia byway means a scenic byway as referenced in 23 U.S.C. § 131(s).

"Visible" means capable of being seen (whether or not legible) without visual aid by a person of normal visual acuity.

Code 1950, §§ 33-298, 33-310; 1954, c. 588; 1960, c. 406; 1962, c. 176; 1966, c. 663; 1970, c. 322, §§ 33.1-351, 33.1-363; 1976, c. 14; 1980, c. 275; 1984, c. 750; 1993, c. 538; 1996, c. 777; 2000, cc. 432, 449; 2002, c. 672; 2012, c. 145; 2013, c. 127; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1201. Enforcement of provisions by Commissioner of Highways.

The Commissioner of Highways shall administer and enforce the provisions of this article. He may assign to division engineers and other employees in the Department such duties other than discretionary powers as he may deem appropriate.

Code 1950, § 33-299; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-352; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1202. Territory to which article applies.

The territory under the jurisdiction of the Commissioner of Highways for the purposes of this article shall include all of the Commonwealth, exclusive of that portion thereof that lies within the corporate limits of municipalities, except the jurisdiction of the Commissioner of Highways shall apply to all the territory within municipalities on which signs, advertisements, or advertising structures are visible from the main traveled way of any Interstate System highway, federal-aid primary highway as that system existed on June 1, 1991, or National Highway System highway.

Code 1950, § 33-300; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-353; 1993, c. 538; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1203. Entry upon lands; hindering Commissioner of Highways or agent.

The Commissioner of Highways and all employees under his direction may enter upon such lands as may be necessary in the performance of their functions and duties as prescribed by this article. Any person who hinders or obstructs the Commissioner of Highways or any assistant or agent of the Commissioner of Highways in carrying out such functions and duties is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 33-301; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-354; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1204. Excepted signs, advertisements, and advertising structures.

The following signs and advertisements, if securely attached to real property or advertising structures, and the advertising structures or parts thereof upon which they are posted or displayed are excepted from all the provisions of this article except those enumerated in §§ 33.2-1202, 33.2-1205, and 33.2-1208, subdivisions 2 through 12 of § 33.2-1216, and §§ 33.2-1217, 33.2-1224, and 33.2-1227:

1. Advertisements securely attached to a place of business or residence and no more than 10 advertising structures, with a combined total area of such advertisements and advertising structures, exclusive of the area occupied by the name of the business, owner, or lessee, of no more than 500 square feet, erected or maintained, or caused to be erected or maintained, by the owner or lessee of such place of business or residence, within 250 feet of such place of business or residence or located on the real property of such place of business or residence and relating solely to merchandise, services, or entertainment sold, produced, manufactured, or furnished at such place of business or residence;

2. Signs erected or maintained, or caused to be erected or maintained, on any farm by the owner or lessee of such farm and relating solely to farm produce, merchandise, services, or entertainment sold, produced, manufactured, or furnished on such farm;

3. Signs upon real property posted or displayed by the owner, or by the authority of the owner, stating that the property upon which the sign is located, or a part of such property, is for sale or rent or stating any data pertaining to such property and its appurtenances and the name and address of the owner and the agent of such owner;

4. Official notices or advertisements posted or displayed by or under the direction of any public or court officer in the performance of his official or directed duties or by trustees under deeds of trust, deeds of assignment, or other similar instruments;

5. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 33.2-1224, danger or precautionary signs relating to the premises or signs warning of the condition of or dangers of travel on a highway erected or authorized by the Commissioner of Highways; forest fire warning signs erected under authority of the State Forester; and signs, notices, or symbols erected by the United States government under the direction of the U.S. Forest Service;

6. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 33.2-1224, notices of any telephone company, telegraph company, railroad, bridges, ferries, or other transportation company necessary in the discretion of the Commissioner of Highways for the safety of the public or for the direction of the public to such utility or to any place to be reached by it;

7. Signs, notices, or symbols for the information of aviators as to location, direction, and landings and conditions affecting safety in aviation erected or authorized by the Commissioner of Highways;

8. Signs of 16 square feet or less and bearing an announcement of any locality, or historic place, museum, or shrine situated in the Commonwealth advertising itself or local industries, meetings, buildings, or attractions, provided such signs are maintained wholly at public expense or at the expense of such historic place, museum, or shrine;

9. Signs or notices of two square feet or less placed at a junction of two or more highways in the primary state highway system denoting only the distance or direction of a church, residence, or place of business, provided such signs or notices do not exceed a reasonable number in the discretion of the Commissioner of Highways;

10. Signs or notices erected or maintained upon property giving the name of the owner, lessee, or occupant of the premises;

11. Advertisements and advertising structures within the corporate limits of cities and towns, except as specified in § 33.2-1202;

12. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 33.2-1224, historical markers erected by duly constituted and authorized public authorities;

13. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 33.2-1224, highway markers and signs erected or caused to be erected by the Commissioner of Highways or the Board or other authorities in accordance with law;

14. Signs erected upon property warning the public against hunting, fishing, or trespassing thereon;

15. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 33.2-1224, signs erected by Red Cross authorities relating to Red Cross Emergency Stations, with authority hereby expressly given for the erection and maintenance of such signs upon the right-of-way of all highways in the Commonwealth at such locations as may be approved by the Commissioner of Highways;

16. Signs advertising agricultural products and horticultural products, or either, when such products are produced by the person who erects and maintains the signs, provided that restriction of the location and number of such signs shall be in the sole discretion of the Commissioner of Highways;

17. Signs advertising only the name, time, and place of bona fide agricultural, county, district, or state fairs, together with announcements of related special events that do not consume more than 50 percent of the display area of such signs, provided the person who posts the signs or causes them to be posted shall post a cash bond as may be prescribed by the Commissioner of Highways adequate to reimburse the Commonwealth for the actual cost of removing such signs that are not removed within 30 days after the last day of the fair so advertised;

18. Signs of no more than eight square feet, or one sign structure containing more than one sign of no more than eight square feet, that denote only the name of a civic service club or church, location and directions for reaching same, and time of meeting of such organization, provided such signs or notices do not exceed a reasonable number as determined by the Commissioner of Highways;

19. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 33.2-1224, signs containing advertisements or notices that have been authorized by a county and that are securely affixed to a public transit passenger shelter that is owned by that county, provided that no advertisement shall be placed within the right-of-way of the Interstate System, National Highway System, or federal-aid primary system of highways in violation of federal law. The prohibition in subdivision 7 of § 33.2-1216 against placing signs within 15 feet of the nearest edge of the pavement of any highway shall not apply to such signs. The Commissioner of Highways may require the removal of any particular sign located on such a shelter as provided in this subdivision if, in his judgment, such sign constitutes a safety hazard; and

20. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 33.2-1205, signs containing advertisements or notices that have been authorized by a county and that are located on public park property or school property that is owned by that county, provided that no advertisement or notice is visible from the main traveled way of the National Highway System in violation of federal law.

Code 1950, § 33-302; 1954, c. 588; 1960, c. 406; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-355; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 8; 1972, c. 158; 1990, c. 196; 1993, c. 538; 1996, c. 125; 2003, c. 321; 2014, c. 805; 2015, c. 607; 2018, c. 794.

§ 33.2-1205. License required of outdoor advertisers.

No person shall engage or continue in the business of outdoor advertising in the Commonwealth outside the corporate limits of municipalities or within the corporate limits of municipalities if their off-premises sign, advertisement, or advertising structure is visible from the main traveled way of any Interstate System, federal-aid primary, or National Highway System highway without first obtaining a license therefor from the Commissioner of Highways. The fee for such license hereby imposed for revenue for the use of the Commonwealth shall be $500 per year, payable annually in advance. Applications for licenses or renewal of licenses shall be made on forms furnished by the Commissioner of Highways, shall contain such information as the Commissioner of Highways may require, and shall be accompanied by the annual fee. Licenses granted under this section shall expire on December 31 of each year and shall not be prorated. Applications for renewal of licenses shall be made not less than 30 days prior to the date of expiration. Nothing in this section shall be construed to require any person that advertises upon a structure or fixture on its property or a licensed advertiser's structure or other space to obtain a license.

Code 1950, § 33-303; 1954, c. 588; 1964, c. 619; 1968, c. 519; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-356; 1979, c. 216; 1993, c. 538; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1206. Revocation of license and judicial review.

A. The Commissioner of Highways may after 30 days' notice in writing to the licensee revoke any license granted by him upon repayment of a proportionate part of the license fee in any case in which he finds that any of the information required to be given in the application for the license is knowingly false or misleading or that the licensee has violated any of the provisions of this article, unless such licensee, before the expiration of such 30 days, corrects such false or misleading information and complies with the provisions of this article.

B. Any person whose license is so revoked is entitled to judicial review of such revocation in accordance with the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.). Any person aggrieved by such judgment shall have the right of appeal to the Court of Appeals.

Code 1950, §§ 33-304, 33-305; 1970, c. 322, §§ 33.1-357, 33.1-358; 1984, c. 703; 1986, c. 615; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1207. Bond required from out-of-state licensee.

No license to engage or continue in the business of outdoor advertising shall be granted to any person having its principal place of business outside the Commonwealth or that is incorporated outside the Commonwealth for the posting or display of any advertisement or the erection, use, or maintenance of any advertising structure until such person has furnished and filed with the Commissioner of Highways a bond payable to the Commonwealth, with surety approved by the Commissioner of Highways and in a form approved by the Attorney General, in the sum of $1,000, conditioned that such licensee fulfills all requirements of law and the regulations and orders of the Commissioner of Highways relating to the display of advertisements or the erection of advertising structures. Such bond remains in full force and effect so long as any obligations of such licensee to the Commonwealth remain unsatisfied.

Code 1950, § 33-306; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-359; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1208. Permits required.

Except as otherwise provided in this article, no person, whether engaged in the business of outdoor advertising or not, shall erect, use, maintain, post, or display any advertisement or advertising structure outside municipalities in the Commonwealth without first obtaining a permit therefor from the Commissioner of Highways and paying the annual fee therefor, as provided in this article. A permit is required for an off-premises sign, advertisement, or advertising structure authorized by § 33.2-1217 if it is located within a municipality and is visible from the main traveled way of any Interstate System, federal-aid primary, or National Highway System highway.

No bond or permit is required for the posting or display of any advertisement posted or displayed on any advertising structure or space for which a permit has been issued or renewed for the then-current calendar year under the provisions of this article unless such permit has been revoked.

Code 1950, § 33-307; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-360; 1993, c. 538; 2012, c. 145; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1209. Applications for permits; fees.

A. A separate application for a permit shall be made for each separate advertisement or advertising structure, on a form furnished by the Commissioner of Highways, which application shall be signed by the applicant or his representative duly authorized in writing to act for him and shall describe and set forth the size, shape, and nature of the advertisement or advertising structure it is proposed to post, display, erect, or maintain and its actual or proposed location with sufficient accuracy to enable the Commissioner of Highways to identify such advertisement or advertising structure and to find its actual or proposed location.

B. Each application shall be accompanied by an application fee in an amount determined on the basis of the area of the advertisement or advertising structure for which the permit is sought, according to the following schedule:

1. $15 if such area does not exceed 74 square feet;

2. $30 if such area exceeds 74 square feet but does not exceed 1,824 square feet; and

3. $165 if such area exceeds 1,824 square feet.

In the computation of fees under this subsection, each side of the advertisement or advertising structure used or constructed to be used shall be separately considered. If the applicant elects to use an electronic application, the fee shall be reduced by $5 per application.

The fee shall be retained by the Commissioner of Highways if the permit is issued. If the permit is refused, the Commissioner of Highways shall refund one-half of the application fee to the applicant.

C. In addition to the fees required by subsection B, on any original application for an advertisement or advertising structure there shall be imposed an inspection charge of $50 for any advertisement or advertising structure to be located on an Interstate System, federal-aid primary, or National Highway System highway and $25 for any advertisement or advertising structure to be located on any other highway.

D. Each application shall be accompanied by the written consent, or in lieu thereof a copy certified by an officer authorized to take acknowledgments to deeds in the Commonwealth, of the owner of the real property upon which such advertisement or advertising structure is to be erected, used, maintained, posted, or displayed, or of such other person having the legal right to grant such consent, or of the duly authorized agent of such owner or other person, except that in the marsh or meadowland owned by the Commonwealth along either side of the causeway leading from the mainland to the Town of Chincoteague, the legal right to grant such consent shall be vested in the local governing body of such town.

E. Application shall be made in like manner for a permit to use, maintain, or display an existing advertisement or advertising structure.

Code 1950, § 33-308; 1954, c. 588; 1959, Ex. Sess., c. 20; 1964, c. 619; 1968, c. 519; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-361; 1979, c. 216; 1993, c. 538; 2012, c. 145; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1210. Duration and renewal of permit.

Except as provided in § 33.2-1212, permits issued in accordance with this article shall run for the calendar year and may be renewed upon application made upon forms furnished by the Commissioner of Highways and the payment of the same fee required to be paid upon application for a permit. Fees for renewal of permits using the Department's electronic application renewal process shall be reduced by $5 per permit being renewed. Permits shall not be extended or renewed in cases where the permittee has not exercised the privilege of erecting such advertising structure or displayed such advertisement during the period for which the permit was issued. Annual permits issued after December 15 shall cover the following calendar year.

Code 1950, § 33-309; 1954, c. 588; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-362; 2012, c. 145; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1211. Revocation of permit.

The Commissioner of Highways may, after 30 days' notice in writing to the permittee, revoke any permit issued by him under § 33.2-1208 upon repayment of a proportionate part of the fee in any case in which it appears to the Commissioner of Highways that the application for the permit contains knowingly false or misleading information, that the permittee has failed to keep in a good general condition and in a reasonable state of repair the advertisement or advertising structure for which such permit was issued, or that the permittee has violated any of the provisions of this article, unless such permittee, before the expiration of such 30 days, corrects such false or misleading information or makes the necessary repairs or improvement in the general condition of such advertisement or advertising structure or complies with the provisions of this article. If the erection, maintenance, and display of any advertisement or advertising structure for which a permit is issued by the Commissioner of Highways and the permit fee has been paid as above provided is prevented by any zoning board, commission, or other public agency that also has jurisdiction over the proposed advertisement or advertising structure or its site, the application fee for such advertisement or advertising structure shall be returned by the Commissioner of Highways and the permit revoked. However, one-half of the application fee shall be deemed to have accrued upon the erection of an advertising structure or the display of an advertisement followed by an inspection by the Commissioner of Highways or his representative.

Code 1950, § 33-311; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-364; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1212. Temporary permit.

In any case in which an applicant for a permit certifies in his application that he is unable to state the actual or proposed location of the advertisement or advertising structure or to file the written consent of the landowner or other person having the legal right to the real estate upon which the advertisement or advertising structure is to be erected, used, maintained, posted, or displayed, the Commissioner of Highways shall issue to such applicant a temporary permit, which shall expire 60 days from the date of issue, together with the proper identification number to be attached to such advertisement or advertising structure. Applications for temporary permits must indicate the county and route on which the advertisement or advertising structure is to be located and must be accompanied by a fee of $2 to cover the cost of issuance of the temporary permit. If within such 60 days the applicant files with the Commissioner of Highways an application setting forth all of the information required in § 33.2-1209, together with the required fees, the Commissioner of Highways shall issue to such applicant a permit. In the event that the permit is not issued, the fees submitted shall be returned, except the $2 for the temporary permit.

Code 1950, § 33-312; 1954, c. 588; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-365; 1979, c. 216; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1213. Appeal from refusal or revocation of permit.

Any person aggrieved by any action of the Commissioner of Highways in refusing to grant or in revoking a permit under § 33.2-1209 or 33.2-1211 may appeal from the decision of the Commissioner of Highways in accordance with the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

Code 1950, § 33-313; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-366; 1986, c. 615; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1214. Transfer of licenses and permits to successor concerns.

Any license or permit issued pursuant to this article may be transferred to any person that acquires as a successor the business of the person for whom such license or permit was issued.

Code 1950, § 33-314; 1954, c. 588; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-367; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1215. Identification of advertising structure or advertisement.

The Commissioner of Highways shall require that each advertising structure and each advertisement not posted or displayed on an advertising structure bear an identification number furnished by the Commissioner of Highways and, if erected, maintained, or displayed by a licensed outdoor advertiser, also bear its name. The Commissioner of Highways shall make suitable provisions for the details thereof.

Code 1950, § 33-316; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-368; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1216. Certain advertisements or structures prohibited.

No advertisement or advertising structure shall be erected, maintained, or operated:

1. Within 660 feet of the nearest edge of the right-of-way of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Colonial National Parkway, the Mount Vernon Boulevard, or any other parkway within the Commonwealth or within 660 feet of any public cemetery, public park reservation, public playground, national forest, or state forest, outside the limits of any municipality; however, any advertisement or advertising structure that is lawfully in place on April 6, 1966, and that does not conform to the 660-foot distance requirement may be maintained for the life of the advertisement or advertising structure;

2. That involves motion or rotation of any part of the structure, moving reflective disks, or running animation or that displays an intermittent light or lights visible from any highway. The prohibition of this subdivision shall not apply to (i) an advertisement or advertisement structure with messages that change no more than once every four seconds and that is consistent with agreements entered into between the Commissioner of Highways and the U.S. Department of Transportation or (ii) an on-premises advertisement or advertising structure with messages displayed as scrolling words or numbers;

3. That uses the words "stop" or "danger" prominently displayed or presents or implies the need or requirement of stopping or the existence of danger on any highway or that is a copy or imitation of official highway signs;

4. That, within visible distance of any highway, advertises any county, city, town, historic place, museum, or shrine without the consent in writing of such county, city, or town or of the owner of such historic place or shrine;

5. That is mobile and is designed to and effectively does distract the attention of passing motorists on any highway by flashing lights, loud and blatant noises, or movable objects;

6. That involves red, green, or amber lights or reflectorized material and resembles traffic signal lights or traffic control signs and is within visible distance of any highway;

7. Within 15 feet of the nearest edge of the pavement of any highway; however, the Commissioner of Highways may waive this restriction whenever the advertisement or advertising structure is actually anchored outside of the right-of-way and, within his discretion, does not constitute a safety hazard or conflict with any other restriction contained in this section;

8. At any public road intersection in such a manner as would obstruct the clear vision in either direction between a point on the centerline of the side road 20 feet from the nearest edge of the pavement of the main road and points on the main road 400 feet distant, measured along the nearest edge of the pavement of the main road;

9. At any grade intersection of a public road and a railroad in such a manner as would obstruct the clear vision in either direction within triangular areas formed by (i) a point at the center of the railroad-public road intersection, (ii) a point on the public road 400 feet from the center of the railroad-public road intersection as measured along the center of the public road, and (iii) a point on the railroad 500 feet from the center of the railroad-public road intersection as measured along the center of the railroad;

10. At or near any curve in a road in such a manner as to obstruct the clear vision of traffic from any one point on such curve to any other point not more than 400 feet apart, as measured between each point from the nearest edge of the pavement;

11. That advertises activities that are illegal under state or federal laws or regulations in effect at the location of such sign or advertisement or at the location of such activities;

12. That is obsolete or inconsistent with this article or regulations adopted by the Board pursuant to this article; or

13. After December 18, 1991, adjacent to any Interstate System, federal-aid primary, or National Highway System highway in the Commonwealth that has been designated as a Virginia byway or scenic highway, except directional and official signs and notices defined in this article and regulations adopted pursuant to this article, on-premises signs, and signs advertising the sale or lease of property upon which they are located.

Code 1950, § 33-317; 1954, c. 588; 1956, c. 676; 1958, c. 369; 1960, c. 406; 1966, c. 663; 1968, c. 230; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-369; 1976, c. 14; 1977, c. 219; 1993, c. 538; 1999, c. 290; 2000, c. 140; 2001, c. 285; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1217. Special provisions pertaining to Interstate System, National Highway System, and federal-aid primary highways.

A. Notwithstanding the territorial limitation set out in § 33.2-1202, no sign or advertisement adjacent to any Interstate System, National Highway System, or federal-aid primary highway shall be erected, maintained, or displayed that is visible from the main traveled way within 660 feet of the nearest edge of the right-of-way, except as provided in subsections B and D, and outside of an urban area, no sign or advertisement beyond 660 feet of the nearest edge of the right-of-way of any Interstate System, National Highway System, or federal-aid primary highway that is visible from the main traveled way shall be erected, maintained, or displayed with the purpose of its message being read from the main traveled way, except as set forth in subsection C.

B. The following signs, advertisements, or advertising structures may be erected, maintained, and displayed within 660 feet of the right-of-way of any Interstate System, National Highway System, or federal-aid primary highway:

Class 1: Official signs. Directional and official signs and notices, including signs and notices pertaining to the availability of food, lodging, vehicle service and tourist information, natural wonders, scenic areas, museums, and historic attractions, as authorized or required by law; however, where such signs or notices pertain to facilities or attractions that are barrier free, such signs or notices shall contain the International Symbol of Access. The Board shall determine the type, lighting, size, location, number, and other requirements of signs of this class.

Class 2: On-premises signs. Signs not prohibited by other parts of this article that are consistent with the applicable provisions of this section and that advertise the sale or lease of, or activities being conducted upon, the real property where the signs are located, provided that any such signs that are located adjacent to and within 660 feet of any Interstate System highway and do not lie in commercial or industrial zones within the boundaries of incorporated municipalities, as such boundaries existed on September 21, 1959, wherein the use of real property adjacent to the Interstate System is subject to municipal regulation or control, or in areas where land use as of September 21, 1959, was clearly established by state law as industrial or commercial, shall comply with the following requirements:

1. Not more than one sign advertising the sale or lease of the same property may be erected or maintained in such manner as to be visible to traffic proceeding in any one direction on any one Interstate System highway;

2. Not more than one sign visible to traffic proceeding in any one direction on any one Interstate System highway and advertising activities being conducted upon the real property where the sign is located may be erected or maintained more than 50 feet from the advertised activity; and

3. No sign, except one that is not more than 50 feet from the advertised activity, that displays any trade name that refers to or identifies any service rendered or product sold may be erected or maintained unless the name of the advertised activity is displayed as conspicuously as such trade name.

Class 3: Other signs. Any signs or advertisements that are located within areas adjacent to any Interstate System, National Highway System, or federal-aid primary highway that are zoned industrial or commercial under authority of state law or in unzoned commercial or industrial areas as determined by the Board from actual land uses. The Board shall determine the size, lighting, and spacing of signs of this class, provided that such determination shall be no more restrictive than valid federal requirements on the same subject.

C. The following signs, advertisements, or advertising structures may be erected, maintained, and displayed beyond 660 feet of the right-of-way of any Interstate System, National Highway System, or federal-aid primary highway outside urban areas:

1. Class 1 and Class 2 signs, advertisements, or advertising structures set forth in subsection B.

2. All other signs, advertisements, or advertising structures erected, maintained, or displayed more than 660 feet from the nearest edge of the right-of-way of an Interstate System, National Highway System, or federal-aid primary highway, unless such sign or advertisement is visible from the main traveled way of such highways and erected, maintained, or displayed with the purpose of its message being read from the main traveled way of such highways.

In determining whether a sign, advertisement, or advertising structure is "erected, maintained, or displayed with the purpose of its message being read," the Commissioner of Highways shall consider, at a minimum, the nature of the business or product advertised thereon, the availability of such business or product to users of the controlled highway, and the visibility of the sign, advertisement, or advertising structure from the main traveled way of the controlled highway. Such visibility may be measured by considering the size or height of the sign, advertisement, or advertising structure; the configuration, size, and height of recognizable emblems, images, and lettering thereon; the angle of the sign, advertisement, or advertising structure to the main traveled way of the controlled highway; the degree to which physical obstructions hinder the view of the sign, advertisement, or advertising structure from the main traveled way of the controlled highway; and the time during which such sign, advertisement, or advertising structure is exposed to view by travelers on the main traveled way of the controlled highway traveling at the maximum and minimum speeds posted.

D. In order to provide information in the specific interest of the traveling public, the Department is authorized to maintain maps, permit informational directories and advertising pamphlets to be made available at rest areas, and establish information centers at rest areas for the purpose of informing the public of places of interest within the Commonwealth and providing such other information as may be considered desirable.

E. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, lawfully erected and maintained nonconforming signs, advertisements, and advertising structures shall not be removed or eliminated by amortization under state law or local ordinances without compensation as described in subsection F.

F. The Commissioner of Highways is authorized to acquire by purchase, gift, or the power of eminent domain and to pay just compensation upon the removal of nonconforming signs, advertisements, or advertising structures lawfully erected and maintained under state law or state regulations, provided that subsequent to November 6, 1978, whenever any local ordinance that is more restrictive than state law requires the removal of such signs, advertisements, or advertising structures, the local governing body shall initiate the removal of such signs, advertisements, or advertising structures with the Commissioner of Highways, who shall have complete authority to administer the removal of such signs, advertisements, or advertising structures. Upon proof of payment presented to the local governing bodies, the local governing bodies shall reimburse the Commissioner of Highways the funds expended that are associated with the removal of such signs, advertisements, or advertising structures required by local ordinances, less any federal funds received for such purposes. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, nothing shall prohibit the local governing bodies from removing signs, advertisements, or advertising structures that are made nonconforming solely by local ordinances so long as those ordinances require the local governing bodies to pay 100 percent of the cost of removing them and just compensation upon their removal.

Such compensation is authorized to be paid only for the taking from the owner of such sign or advertisement of all right, title, leasehold, and interest in such sign or advertisement and the taking from the owner of the real property on which the sign or advertisement is located of the right to erect and maintain such sign or advertisement thereon.

The Commissioner of Highways shall not be required to expend any funds under this section unless and until federal-aid matching funds are made available for this purpose.

Code 1950, § 33-317.1; 1960, c. 406; 1962, c. 176; 1966, c. 663; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-370; 1976, cc. 14, 29; 1980, c. 275; 1993, c. 538; 2000, cc. 432, 449; 2013, cc. 585, 646; 2014, c. 805; 2018, cc. 352, 353.

§ 33.2-1218. Removal of billboard signs under this chapter prohibited without just compensation.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no billboard sign subject to this chapter may be removed by action of a county, city, or town under Chapter 22 (§ 15.2-2200 et seq.) of Title 15.2 without the payment of just compensation by the county, city, or town unless the billboard sign cannot remain on the property due to the site constraints of the property and removal of the billboard sign is therefore necessary for development on the property. The property owner may terminate the leasehold or other right of the billboard sign to remain on the property in accordance with the terms and conditions of the contract between the property owner and the billboard sign owner, but may not be required to do so by the county, city, or town as a condition of obtaining development approval for the property unless removal of the billboard sign is necessary for development of the property or the billboard sign is nonconforming and is the principal use on the property and the zoning ordinance permits only one principal use on the property.

2003, c. 569, § 33.1-370.1; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1219. Maintenance and repair of nonconforming billboard signs.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, maintenance of and repairs to nonconforming billboard signs shall be governed by this section and any applicable regulations promulgated by the Commissioner of Highways, known as the "Control and Continuance of Nonconforming Signs, Advertisements, and Advertising Structures." Nonconforming billboard signs shall be maintained in a good state of repair and shall be subject to removal for failure to do so, in accordance with §§ 33.2-1211 and 33.2-1229. In order to make repairs to a nonconforming billboard sign, the owner shall make a written request to the Commissioner of Highways and submit the documentation required by 24VAC30-120-170. The Commissioner of Highways shall review the written request, and if the Commissioner of Highways determines that the cost of requested repairs does not exceed a dollar amount greater than 50 percent of the current replacement cost of the entire billboard sign or structure, the Commissioner of Highways shall provide the owner of the billboard sign with a letter approving the billboard sign repairs. However, in no case shall a nonconforming billboard sign be replaced or rebuilt if the cost of the replacement or rebuilding exceeds 50 percent of the current replacement cost. The owner of the billboard sign shall apply for a building permit from the locality in which the billboard sign is located and provide a copy of the approval letter from the Commissioner of Highways as part of the application for the building permit. The Commissioner's determination as to whether the owner of the billboard sign has complied with this section shall be binding upon the locality unless the building official, for good cause shown, submits to the Commissioner of Highways documentation objecting to the Commissioner's determination within 30 days of the building permit application, with a copy of such documentation being provided to the billboard sign owner. The Commissioner of Highways shall consider any documentation submitted by the building official and shall reissue a determination in accordance with this section, which determination shall be binding upon the locality.

2004, c. 656, § 33.1-370.2; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1220. Regulations and agreements with United States implementing § 33.2-1217.

The Board may issue regulations and is authorized to enter into agreements with the United States as provided in 23 U.S.C. § 131 with respect to the regulation and control of signs, advertisements, and advertising structures in conformity with § 33.2-1217, provided that such agreements shall not prevent the General Assembly of Virginia from amending or repealing § 33.2-1217 at any time, and provided further that in the event the federal law is amended to lessen the special restrictions applicable to signs, advertisements, and advertising structures adjacent to Interstate System or federal-aid primary highways, the Board is authorized to adopt regulations to conform to such change in federal law and to amend any agreement with the United States relating to such control.

Code 1950, § 33-317.2; 1960, c. 406; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-371; 1976, c. 14; 1984, c. 745; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1221. Selective pruning permits; fees; penalty.

A. As used in this section, "local beautification project" means any project in a locality that includes installation of plant materials, using public or other funds, in any public right-of-way within a county, city, or town.

B. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 33.2-1202 or any other provision of law:

1. The Commissioner of Highways shall by permit authorize the selective pruning, within highway rights-of-way, as highways are defined in § 33.2-1200, including within corporate limits of municipalities, of vegetation that obstructs motorists' view of signs displayed on outdoor advertising structures legally erected and properly maintained along the highways. Permits authorizing such pruning shall be issued in accordance with this section.

a. All work performed under the permit shall be (i) subject to the direction of the Commissioner of Highways, (ii) supervised on-site by a certified arborist approved by the Commissioner of Highways, (iii) completed to the satisfaction of the Commissioner of Highways, and (iv) performed solely at the expense of the permittee.

b. All pruning shall be performed in a manner that (i) creates a picture frame effect around the sign and (ii) beautifies the area surrounding the advertising structure. All cutting shall be limited to vegetation with trunk base diameters of less than six inches. Pruning cuts of limbs or branches or other vegetation with diameters greater than four inches and clear cutting shall not be authorized and shall be strictly prohibited. Pruning of vegetation in a highway median shall not be permitted where the locality within which the pruning is to be done has a local beautification project in the area within the scope of the selective pruning application; however, relocation or replanting of such vegetation shall be permitted in accordance with a landscaping plan as provided in this section.

c. Any diseased or unsightly vegetation or any vegetation that endangers the health or retards the growth of desirable vegetation may be removed at the discretion of the certified arborist supervising the work. Any such removed vegetation shall be replaced at the permittee's expense with desirable vegetation.

2. The requirements of this section shall not apply to the owner or authorized agent of the owner of any sign, advertisement, or advertising structure exempted from the provisions of this article by § 33.2-1204.

3. The Commissioner of Highways shall promulgate such regulations as he deems necessary or desirable to carry out the provisions of this section. Such regulations shall include the following requirements:

a. Every application for a permit submitted under this section shall be accompanied by photographs of the affected site and a detailed description of work proposed to be performed.

b. A fee of $400 shall accompany every application made to the Commissioner of Highways or, if applicable, to the locality within which the pruning is to be performed. All such fees collected by the Commissioner of Highways shall be paid by the Commissioner of Highways into the state treasury and allocated to the Board.

c. Every applicant shall post a bond payable to the Commonwealth, with surety approved by the Commissioner of Highways and in a form approved by the Attorney General, in the sum of $2,500, conditioned on the permittee's fulfillment of all requirements of the permit.

d. No permit shall be issued under this section in order to create a new site for an outdoor advertising structure.

4. Where the applicant is seeking a vegetation control permit in a locality where the public right-of-way is within the jurisdictional limits of a city or town on a highway or street not within the jurisdiction of the Commissioner of Highways under § 33.2-1202 or on a highway or street in a county having the county manager form of government, the Commissioner of Highways shall delegate the administration of this section to that locality, and if so delegated, the locality shall apply the provisions of this section.

5. If there are plant materials in the public right-of-way that are part of a local beautification project, the Commissioner of Highways or the locality, as the case may be, may include a requirement in accordance with the provisions of subdivisions 4 through 7 that as a condition of the issuance of a vegetation control permit for selective pruning, the applicant must submit a landscaping plan showing how the applicant will relocate or replant the vegetation obstructing the motorists' view from the main traveled way of the highway or street of signs displayed on outdoor advertising structures, in lieu of the selective pruning of such plant materials. In the absence of the existence of a local beautification project in the area within the scope of the selective pruning application, no landscaping plan requirement shall be imposed on the applicant.

6. If subdivision 5 is applicable, the applicant shall pay the reasonable costs of implementing the landscaping plan, which may include relocating existing plant materials, purchasing new replacement plant materials, and planting vegetation that will not grow to a height or position in the future so as to obstruct motorists' view from the main traveled way of the highway or street of signs displayed on outdoor advertising structures, as otherwise set out in the landscaping plan.

7. The provisions of subdivisions 4 through 6 shall apply to any local beautification project installed prior to July 1, 2006. On and after July 1, 2006, the locality shall not plant materials that obstruct motorists' view from the main traveled way of the highway or street of signs displayed on outdoor advertising structures. If the local beautification project violates this section, in addition to other applicable penalties, the locality shall bear the costs to bring such beautification project into compliance with this section.

8. The locality shall provide a 30-day written notice to the Commissioner of Highways prior to installation of a local beautification project within the right-of-way of a Department maintained highway that may obstruct the motorists' view of signs displayed on outdoor advertising structures. Such notice shall include a description of the plant materials to be used in, and a copy of the plans for, such beautification project.

9. Any application for vegetation control in compliance with this section submitted to the Commissioner of Highways shall be acted upon within 60 days of submission or shall be deemed approved. Any application for vegetation control in compliance with this section submitted to any city or town or on a highway or street in a county with the county manager form of government shall be acted upon within 60 days of submission or shall be deemed approved. The locality may impose conditions in approval of the landscaping plan consistent with this section and the regulations promulgated thereto. If the locality is not satisfied that the landscaping plan submitted by the applicant complies with this section, the locality may appeal to the Commissioner of Highways prior to the expiration of the 60-day period from the date of submission. If the applicant objects to the conditions imposed by the locality as part of the approval of the landscaping plan, the applicant may appeal to the Commissioner of Highways within 30 days after the final action on the landscaping plan. The appealing party shall submit a written appeal to the Commissioner of Highways, stating the reasons for such appeal, along with a fee of $400. The Commissioner of Highways shall review the landscaping plan and the reasons for the appeal and shall issue a determination in accordance with this section within 30 days after filing of the appeal, which determination shall be binding upon the applicant and the locality.

10. Upon issuance of a vegetation control permit in accordance with this section, the applicant shall give written notice, at least seven days in advance of any site work, as authorized by the permit, of the date and time of the commencement of the site work as approved by the permit. Such written notice shall be given to the Commissioner of Highways unless the public right-of-way is within the jurisdictional limits of a city or town on a highway or street not within the jurisdiction of the Commissioner under § 33.2-1202, in which case the written notice shall be given to the local government official who approved the permit.

11. Any person, firm, or corporation found by a court of competent jurisdiction to have violated any provision of this section, any regulation adopted pursuant to this section, or any permit issued under this section shall be subject to the penalties provided in § 33.2-1229.

1998, cc. 525, 540, § 33.1-371.1; 2006, cc. 512, 543; 2012, cc. 760, 818; 2013, c. 737; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1222. Tree-trimming policies.

The Board shall adopt policies governing the pruning and trimming of trees during nonemergency conditions by the employees, agents, and contractors of the Department of Transportation in order to preserve roadside trees that do not adversely affect highway operations, maintenance, or safety. Such policies shall be developed in consultation with an advisory group whose members shall include representatives of the Department of Transportation, the Department of Forestry, Scenic Virginia, and the American Society of Consulting Arborists and shall be consistent with generally accepted standards recommended by nationally recognized organizations, including the American National Standards Institute.

2001, c. 169, § 33.1-371.2; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1223. Pasting advertisements prohibited in certain instances.

No advertisement shall be pasted or glued on any building, fence, wall, tree, rock, or other similar structure or object unless the same structure or object is an advertising structure for which a permit has been issued and is in effect.

Code 1950, § 33-318; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-372; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1224. Signs or advertising on rocks, poles, etc., within limits of highway; civil penalty.

Any person who in any manner (i) paints, prints, places, puts, or affixes any sign or advertisement upon or to any rock, stone, tree, fence, stump, pole, mile-board, milestone, danger-sign, guide-sign, guidepost, highway sign, historical marker, building, or other object lawfully within the limits of any highway or (ii) erects, paints, prints, places, puts, or affixes any sign or advertisement within the limits of any highway is subject to a civil penalty of $100. Each occurrence shall be subject to a separate penalty. All civil penalties collected under this section shall be paid into the Highway Maintenance and Operating Fund. Signs or advertisements placed within the limits of the highway are hereby declared a public and private nuisance and may be forthwith removed, obliterated, or abated by the Commissioner of Highways or his representatives without notice. The Commissioner of Highways may collect the cost of such removal, obliteration, or abatement from the person erecting, painting, printing, placing, putting, affixing, or using such sign or advertisement. When no one is observed erecting, painting, printing, placing, putting, or affixing such sign or advertisement, the person, firm, or corporation being advertised shall be presumed to have placed the sign or advertisement and shall be punished accordingly. Such presumption, however, shall be rebuttable by competent evidence. In addition, the Commissioner of Highways or his representative may seek to enjoin any recurring violator of this section. The Commissioner of Highways may enter into agreements with any local governing body authorizing local law-enforcement agencies or other local governmental entities to act as agents of the Commissioner of Highways for the purpose of (i) enforcing the provisions of this section and (ii) collecting the penalties and costs provided for in this section. Any such agreement may provide that penalties and costs collected pursuant to such agreement shall be paid as agreed.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to signs or outdoor advertising regulated under other provisions of this chapter.

Code 1950, § 33-319; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-373; 1993, c. 538; 1994, c. 696; 2012, c. 739; 2013, c. 457; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1225. Commissioner of Highways may enter into certain agreements; civil penalties.

A. The Commissioner of Highways may enter into agreements with the local governing body of Fairfax County authorizing local law-enforcement agencies or other local governmental entities to act as agents of the Commissioner of Highways for the purpose of (i) enforcing the provisions of § 33.2-1224 and (ii) collecting the civil penalties and costs provided for in that section. However, the local governing body of Fairfax County shall not enter into any such agreement until it has held a public hearing thereon.

B. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 33.2-1224, the penalties and costs collected under this section shall be paid to Fairfax County.

C. Notwithstanding subsections A and B, signs and advertising promoting or providing directions to a special event erected from Saturday through the following Monday shall not be subject to an agreement provided for in subsection A.

D. If Fairfax County acts as an agent of the Commissioner of Highways under this section, then it shall require each of its employees and any volunteers who are authorized to act on behalf of the County to comply with the provisions of this section and any other applicable law. If a lawfully placed sign is confiscated by an employee or volunteer authorized to act for the County in violation of the authority granted under this section, the sign owner shall have the right to reclaim the sign within five business days of the date of such confiscation.

1998, c. 835, § 33.1-375.1; 1999, c. 195; 2003, c. 311; 2010, cc. 497, 777, 832; 2012, c. 739; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1226. Harmony of regulations.

No zoning board or commission or any other public officer or agency shall permit any sign, advertisement, or advertising structure that is prohibited under the provisions of this article, nor shall the Commissioner of Highways permit any sign, advertisement, or advertising structure that is prohibited by any other public board, officer, or agency in the lawful exercise of its powers.

Code 1950, § 33-320; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-374; 1976, c. 14; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1227. Violation a nuisance; abatement.

Any sign, advertisement, or advertising structure that is erected, used, maintained, operated, posted, or displayed for which no permit has been obtained where such is required, or after revocation or more than 30 days after expiration of a permit, is hereby declared to be a public and private nuisance and may be forthwith removed, obliterated, or abated by the Commissioner of Highways. The Commissioner of Highways may collect the cost of such removal, obliteration, or abatement from the person erecting, using, maintaining, operating, posting, or displaying such sign, advertisement, or advertising structure.

Code 1950, § 33-321; 1954, c. 588; 1960, c. 406; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-375; 1976, c. 14; 2012, cc. 760, 818; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1228. Disposition of fees.

All moneys received by the Commissioner of Highways under the provisions of this article shall be paid by him into the state treasury, except as provided in §§ 33.2-1224 and 33.2-1229, and allocated to the Board for use in the regulation and control of outdoor advertising and landscaping of highways.

Code 1950, § 33-322; 1964, c. 619; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-376; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1229. Penalties for violation.

A. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any person, firm, or corporation that violates any provision of this article or applicable regulations that fails to take corrective action within 30 days as specified in a written notice from the Commissioner of Highways shall be subject to any or all of the following penalties:

1. A civil penalty of not more than $250 per violation. Each day during which the violation continues after a final determination by the Commissioner of Highways of such violation shall be deemed a separate violation;

2. Revocation by the Commissioner of Highways of any permit for the sign; or

3. Removal of the sign by the Commissioner of Highways. The Commissioner of Highways may collect the costs of the removal from the owner of the sign.

B. Any person aggrieved by the action of the Commissioner of Highways in enforcing the provisions of subsection A may appeal the decision of the Commissioner of Highways in accordance with the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

C. The Commissioner of Highways may remove signs without giving a corrective action notice as provided in subsection A (i) for any violation of subdivision 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 of § 33.2-1216 or of § 33.2-1223 or (ii) if the Commissioner of Highways determines that the sign poses a risk to highway safety.

D. The Commissioner of Highways may recover all civil penalties authorized in subsection A in any manner permitted by law, including (i) the placement of a tax lien on the owner's real property upon which the sign is located and (ii) the use of the Setoff Debt Collection Act (§ 58.1-520 et seq.).

E. All civil penalties collected under this section shall be paid into the Highway Maintenance and Operating Fund established pursuant to § 33.2-1530.

2012, cc. 760, 818, § 33.1-377.1; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1230. Adjustment or relocation of certain billboard signs.

A. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, general or special, whenever land is acquired due to the widening, construction, or reconstruction of any highway by purchase or by use of the power of eminent domain by any condemnor and upon such land is situated a lawfully erected billboard sign or whenever a lawfully erected billboard sign is situated adjacent to such a highway and is affected by the construction of a sound wall, such billboard sign may be relocated as provided in this section.

B. If a billboard sign meets all requirements under the provision of this title, the size, lighting, and spacing requirements of a locality that is certified in accordance with 23 C.F.R. § 750.706 and the federal-state agreement, if applicable, and § 4.1-113.1 in the case of outdoor alcoholic beverage advertising, but is considered nonconforming solely due to a local ordinance, the owner of the billboard sign, at his sole cost and expense, shall have the option to relocate such billboard sign to another location as close as practicable on the same property, adjusting the height or angle of the billboard sign to a height or angle that restores the visibility of the billboard sign to the same or comparable visibility as before the taking or before construction of the sound wall, provided the new location also meets all the requirements of this title and regulations adopted pursuant thereto. The billboard sign may remain in its original location, provided the owner of the billboard sign pays monthly rent to the Commissioner of Highways or other condemnor equivalent to the monthly rent received by the property owner for the billboard prior to acquisition, and until such time as the Commissioner or other condemnor gives notice to the owner of such billboard sign that the billboard sign must be removed. The notice of removal shall be provided at least 45 days prior to the required removal date, which shall be the earlier of the certification date for a highway project advertisement for construction bids or the date that utility relocations are scheduled to commence.

C. Nothing in this section shall authorize the owner of such billboard sign to increase the size of the sign face, and a relocated billboard sign shall continue to be nonconforming in its new location unless the relocated billboard sign becomes conforming in its new location under the local ordinance. The provisions of § 33.2-1219 shall apply to any relocation.

2013, cc. 603, 611, § 33.1-95.2; 2014, cc. 298, 805, 811; 2015, c. 256.

§ 33.2-1231. Construction of article.

This article shall be liberally construed with a view to the effective accomplishment of its purposes.

2013, cc. 603, 611, § 33.1-378; 2014, c. 805.

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