2010 Georgia Code
TITLE 32 - HIGHWAYS, BRIDGES, AND FERRIES
CHAPTER 6 - REGULATION OF MAINTENANCE AND USE OF PUBLIC ROADS GENERALLY
ARTICLE 3 - CONTROL OF SIGNS AND SIGNALS
PART 1 - PUBLIC ROADS GENERALLY
§ 32-6-51 - Erection, placement, or maintenance of unlawful or unauthorized structure; removal thereof; penalty for violation; authorization of placement, erection, and maintenance of commercial advertisements by transit agency

O.C.G.A. 32-6-51 (2010)
32-6-51. Erection, placement, or maintenance of unlawful or unauthorized structure; removal thereof; penalty for violation; authorization of placement, erection, and maintenance of commercial advertisements by transit agency


(a) (1) It shall be unlawful for any person to erect, place, or maintain within the dedicated right of way of any public road any sign, signal, or other device except as authorized by this subsection or subsection (d) of this Code section or as required or authorized by Code Section 32-6-50 or any other law.

(2) The erection, placement, and maintenance of signs within the dedicated rights of way of county roads or municipal streets may be authorized and governed by ordinances adopted by governing authorities of counties and municipalities having jurisdiction over such roads or streets, which ordinances as to such dedicated rights of way of county roads or municipal streets may be as or less restrictive than the provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to erect, place, or maintain in a place or position visible from any public road any unauthorized sign, signal, device, or other structure which:

(1) Imitates, resembles, or purports to be an official traffic-control device;

(2) Hides from view or interferes with the effectiveness of any official traffic-control device;

(3) Obstructs a clear view from any public road to any other portion of such public road, to intersecting or adjoining public roads, or to property abutting such public road in such a manner as to constitute a hazard to traffic on such roads; or

(4) Because of its nature, construction, or operation, constitutes a dangerous distraction to or interferes with the vision of drivers of motor vehicles.

(c) Any sign, signal, device, or other structure erected, placed, or maintained on the dedicated right of way of any public road in violation of subsection (a) or (b) of this Code section or in violation of any ordinance adopted pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section is declared to be a public nuisance, and the officials having jurisdiction of the public road affected may remove or direct the removal of the same. Where any sign, signal, device, or other structure is erected, placed, or maintained in violation of subsection (b) of this Code section, but not on the dedicated right of way of any public road, the officials having jurisdiction of the public road affected may order the removal of such structure by written notice to the owner of the structure or the owner of the land on which the structure is located. If such structure is not removed within 30 days after the giving of such order of removal, such officials are authorized to remove or cause to be removed such structure and to submit a statement of expenses incurred in the removal to the owner of the structure or to the owner of the land on which the structure is located. If payment or arrangement to make payment is not made within 60 days after the receipt of said statement, the department shall certify the amount thereof for collection to the Attorney General.

(d) (1) As used in this subsection, the term:

(A) "Bus shelter" means a shelter or bench located at bus stops for the convenience of passengers of public transportation systems owned and operated by governmental units or public authorities or located on county or municipality rights of way for the convenience of residents.

(B) "Commercial advertisements" means any printed or painted signs on a bus shelter for which space has been rented or leased from the owner of such shelter.

(2) Bus shelters, including those on which commercial advertisements are placed, may be erected and maintained on the rights of way of public roads subject to the following conditions and requirements:

(A) Any public transit system wishing to erect and maintain a bus shelter on the right of way of a state road shall apply to the department for a permit, and as a condition of the issuance of the permit, the department must approve the bus shelter building plans and the location of the bus shelter on the right of way; provided, however, that such approval is subject to any and all restrictions imposed by Title 23, U.S.C., and Title 23, Code of Federal Regulations relating to the federal-aid system. This paragraph shall entitle only public transit systems or their designated agents the right to be issued permits under this paragraph;

(B) If the bus shelter is to be located on the right of way of a public road other than a state road within a county or municipality, application for permission to erect and maintain such shelter shall be made to the respective county or municipality. Such application shall conform to the county's and municipality's regulations governing the erection and maintenance of such structures. When the county or municipality is served by a public transit agency or authority, the applications for all bus shelters on routes of such agency or authority shall also be forwarded by the applicant to such transit agency or authority and subject to the approval of such agency or authority; and

(C) As a condition of issuing a permit for the erection of a bus shelter on the right of way of a state road, the department shall require that the bus shelter shall be properly maintained and that its location shall meet minimum setback requirements as follows:

(i) Where a curb and gutter are present, there shall be a minimum of four feet clearance from the face of the curb to any portion of the bus shelter or the bus shelter shall be placed at the back of the existing concrete sidewalk; or

(ii) Where no curb or gutter is present, the front of the bus shelter shall be at least ten feet from the edge of the main traveled roadway.

(3) Any bus shelter erected and maintained on the right of way of a public road in violation of paragraph (2) of this subsection or in violation of the conditions of the permit issued by the department or in violation of the conditions of the consent of the county or municipality is declared to be a public nuisance and if it is determined to be a hazard to public safety by the department, county, or municipality, it may be removed or its removal may be ordered by the department or the governing authority of the respective county or municipality. In every case of removal of a bus shelter as a hazard to public safety by the department, a county, or a municipality, a good faith attempt shall be made to notify the owner of its removal. In such cases where the department, county, or municipality orders the removal of the bus shelter as a public nuisance, if such a bus shelter is not removed by its owner within 30 days after its owner has been issued a written order of removal by the department or the governing authority of the respective county or municipality, the department or the governing authority of the respective county or municipality may cause the bus shelter to be removed and submit a statement of expenses incurred in the removal to the owner of the bus shelter. In the case of a statement of expenses for removal of a shelter on a state road, if payment or arrangement to make payment is not made within 60 days after the receipt of such statement, the department shall certify the amount thereof to the Attorney General for collection.

(4) The person to whom a permit has been issued for the erection and maintenance of a bus shelter on the right of way of a public road or who places such shelter on a public road other than a state road shall at all times assume all risks for the bus shelter and shall indemnify and hold harmless the State of Georgia, the department, and any county or municipality against all losses or damages resulting solely from the existence of the bus shelter.

(5) Permits for shelters on state roads shall be issued under this subsection only to cities, counties, or public transportation authorities owning or operating public transportation systems or their designated agents.

(e) Each sign erected, placed, or maintained in violation of paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of this Code section shall constitute a separate offense.

(f) Any person who violates paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of this Code section shall be punished the same as for littering under Code Section 16-7-43. Any person who violates subsection (b) of this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

(g) (1) As used in this subsection, the term:

(A) "Commercial advertisements" means any printed or painted signs or multiple message signs on or in transit vehicles or facilities for which space has been rented or leased from the owner of such transit vehicles or facilities.

(B) "Transit agency" means any public agency, public corporation, or public authority existing under the laws of this state that is authorized by any general, special, or local law to provide any type of transit services within any area of this state including, but not limited to, the Department of Transportation, the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, and the Georgia Rail Passenger Authority.

(C) "Transit vehicles or facilities" means everything necessary and appropriate for the conveyance and convenience of passengers who utilize transit services.

(2) A transit agency may authorize the placement, erection, and maintenance of commercial advertisements on or in transit vehicles or facilities owned or operated by that transit agency and said placement of commercial advertisements shall not be considered conducting commercial enterprises or activities in violation of Code Section 32-6-115.

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