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.

Terms Used In Virginia Code 33.2-1217

  • Advertisement: includes any part of an advertisement recognizable as such. See Virginia Code 33.2-1200
  • 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. See Virginia Code 33.2-1200
  • Amortization: Paying off a loan by regular installments.
  • Board: means the Commonwealth Transportation Board. See Virginia Code 33.2-100
  • Commissioner of Highways: means the individual who serves as the chief executive officer of the Department of Transportation. See Virginia Code 33.2-100
  • Department: means the Department of Transportation. See Virginia Code 33.2-100
  • Federal-aid primary highway: means any highway within that portion of the primary state highway system as established and maintained under Article 2 (§ 33. See Virginia Code 33.2-1200
  • Gift: A voluntary transfer or conveyance of property without consideration, or for less than full and adequate consideration based on fair market value.
  • Highway: means every way or place of whatever nature open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel in the Commonwealth. See Virginia Code 33.2-1200
  • Interstate System: means the same as that term is defined in 23 U. See Virginia Code 33.2-100
  • Lawfully erected: means any sign that was erected pursuant to the issuance of a permit from the Commissioner of Highways under § 33. See Virginia Code 33.2-1200
  • Lease: A contract transferring the use of property or occupancy of land, space, structures, or equipment in consideration of a payment (e.g., rent). Source: OCC
  • Main traveled way: means the traveled way of a highway on which through traffic is carried. See Virginia Code 33.2-1200
  • Maintain: means to allow to exist. See Virginia Code 33.2-1200
  • National Highway System: means the federal-aid highway system referenced in 23 U. See Virginia Code 33.2-1200
  • Primary highway: means any highway in or component of the primary state highway system. See Virginia Code 33.2-100
  • Real property: includes any property physically attached or annexed to real property in any manner whatsoever. See Virginia Code 33.2-1200
  • Real property: Land, and all immovable fixtures erected on, growing on, or affixed to the land.
  • 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. See Virginia Code 33.2-1200
  • State: includes District of Columbia;

    (f) "Transit facilities" means all real and personal property located in the Zone, necessary or useful in rendering transit service between points within the Zone, by means of rail, bus, water or air and any other mode of travel, including, without limitation, tracks, rights-of-way, bridges, tunnels, subways, rolling stock for rail, motor vehicle, marine and air transportation, stations, terminals and ports, areas for parking and all equipment, fixtures, buildings and structures and services incidental to or required in connection with the performance of transit service;

    (g) "Transit services" means the transportation of persons and their packages and baggage by means of transit facilities between points within the Zone including the transportation of newspapers, express and mail between such points, and charter service which originates within the Zone but does not include taxicab service or individual-ticket-sales sightseeing operations;

    (h) "Transit Zone" or "Zone" means the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Zone created and described in Section 3 as well as any additional area that may be added pursuant to Section 83(a) of this Compact; and

    (i) "WMATC" means Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Commission. See Virginia Code 33.2-3100

  • Trade name: includes a brand name, trademark, distinctive symbol, or other similar device or thing used to identify particular products or services. See Virginia Code 33.2-1200
  • Traveled way: means the portion of a roadway for the movement of vehicles, exclusive of shoulders. See Virginia Code 33.2-1200
  • 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. See Virginia Code 33.2-1200
  • Visible: means capable of being seen (whether or not legible) without visual aid by a person of normal visual acuity. See Virginia Code 33.2-1200

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.