2006 Code of Virginia § 33.1-351 - Policy; definitions

33.1-351. Policy; definitions.

In order to promote the safety, convenience, and enjoyment of travel on andprotection of the public investment in highways within this Commonwealth, toattract tourists and promote the prosperity, economic well-being, and generalwelfare of the Commonwealth, and to preserve and enhance the natural scenicbeauty or aesthetic features of the highways and adjacent areas, the GeneralAssembly declares it to be the policy of the Commonwealth that the erectionand maintenance of outdoor advertising in areas adjacent to the rights-of-wayof the highways within the Commonwealth shall be regulated in accordance withthe terms of this article and regulations promulgated by the CommonwealthTransportation Board pursuant thereto.

The following terms, wherever used or referred to in this article, shall havethe following meanings unless a different meaning clearly appears from thecontext:

"Advertisement" means any writing, printing, picture, painting, display,emblem, drawing, sign, or similar device which is posted or displayedoutdoors on real property and is intended to invite or to draw the attentionor to solicit the patronage or support of the public to any goods,merchandise, real or personal property, business, services, entertainment, oramusement manufactured, produced, bought, sold, conducted, furnished, ordealt in by any person; the term shall also include any part of anadvertisement recognizable as such.

"Advertising structure" means any rigid or semirigid material, with orwithout any advertisement displayed thereon, situated upon or attached toreal property outdoors, primarily or principally for the purpose offurnishing a background or base or support upon which an advertisement may beposted or displayed.

"Business of outdoor advertising" means the erection, use or maintenance ofadvertising structures or the posting or display of outdoor advertisements byany person who receives profit gained from rentals or any other compensationfrom any other person for the use or maintenance of such advertisingstructures or the posting or display of such advertisements, exceptreasonable compensation for materials and labor used or furnished in theactual erection of advertising structures or the actual posting ofadvertisements. The business of outdoor advertising shall not include theleasing or rental of advertising structures or advertisements used toadvertise products, services, or entertainment sold or provided on thepremises where the advertising structures or advertisement is located.

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

"Certification Acceptance Program" means a program which will allow anyperson, firm, or corporation owning five or more signs, advertisements, oroutdoor advertising structures within a municipality to inspect their ownsigns, advertisements, or outdoor advertising structures two times duringeach calendar year, with inspections at least four to six months apart, andcertify to the Commonwealth Transportation Commissioner that the inspectionshave been performed and that their outdoor advertising structures meet allapplicable laws, rules, and regulations in lieu of paying an annual permitfee as required in 33.1-360, 33.1-361, and 33.1-362. The CommonwealthTransportation Commissioner may, after a hearing, decertify any person, firm,or corporation that fails to perform the required inspections annually orwhose sign, advertisement, or outdoor advertising structures are found inviolation of any federal, state or local law, rule, or regulation and shallcollect all permit fees for the year the decertification occurs and allsubsequent years if the Commissioner finds that the violation has beencommitted.

"Distance from edge of a right-of-way" shall be the horizontal distancemeasured along a line normal or perpendicular to the centerline of thehighway.

"Federal-aid primary highway" means any highway within that portion of theState Highway System as established and maintained under Article 2 ( 33.1-25et seq.) of Chapter 1 of Title 33.1, including extensions of such systemwithin municipalities, which has been approved by the Secretary ofTransportation pursuant to subsection (b) of 103 of Title 23, United StatesCode, as that system existed on June 1, 1991.

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

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

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

"Interchange" means a grade separated intersection with one or more turningroadways 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 issuanceof a permit from the Commonwealth Transportation Commissioner under 33.1-360 unless the local governing body has evidence of noncompliance withordinances in effect at the time the sign was erected.

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

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

"Maintain" means to allow to exist.

"Municipalities" means cities and incorporated towns.

"National highway system" means the federal-aid highway system described insubsection (b) of 103 of Title 23, United States Code, and regulationsadopted pursuant thereto. For the purpose of this article, outdooradvertising controls on the national highway system shall be implemented asthose highways are designated and approved by congressional action and suchdesignation and approval shall be kept on file in the central office of theDepartment of Transportation and placed in the minutes of the CommonwealthTransportation Board by the Commonwealth Transportation Commissioner. Priorto congressional approval, highways classified as National System ofInterstate and Defense Highways, Dwight D. Eisenhower National System ofInterstate and Defense Highways, Interstate System, or federal-aid primary asdefined herein shall be considered as the national highway system.

"National System of Interstate and Defense Highways," "Dwight D.Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways," and"Interstate System" means the system presently defined in subsection (e) of 103 of Title 23, United States Code.

A "nonconforming sign," "nonconforming advertisement," or "nonconformingadvertising structure" is one which was lawfully erected adjacent to anyhighway in the Commonwealth, but which does not comply with the provisions ofstate law, state regulations, or ordinances adopted by local governing bodiespassed at a later date or which later fails to comply with state law, stateregulations, or ordinances adopted by local governing bodies due to changedconditions.

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

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

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

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

"Scenic area" means any public park, area of particular scenic beauty orhistorical significance designated as a scenic area by the CommonwealthTransportation Board.

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

"Town" means an incorporated town.

"Trade name" shall include brand name, trademark, distinctive symbol, orother similar device or thing used to identify particular products orservices.

"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 betweentwo intersection legs of an interchange.

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

"Urban place" means an area so designated by the United States Bureau ofthe Census having a population of 5,000 or more and not within any urbanizedarea, within boundaries fixed by the Commonwealth TransportationCommissioner, in his discretion, in cooperation with the governing bodies ofthe several counties, towns or cities affected and the appropriate federalauthority. Such boundaries shall, as a minimum, encompass the entire urbanplace designated by the United States Bureau of the Census.

"Urbanized area" means an area so designated by the United States Bureau ofthe Census, within boundaries fixed by the Commonwealth TransportationCommissioner, in his discretion, in cooperation with the governing bodies ofthe several counties, towns or cities affected and the appropriate federalauthority. Such boundaries shall, as a minimum, encompass the entireurbanized area within a state as designated by the United States Bureau ofthe Census.

"Virginia byway" and "scenic highway" mean those highways designated bythe Commonwealth Transportation Board pursuant to Article 5 ( 33.1-62 etseq.) of Chapter 1 of this title. For the purposes of the article, a Virginiabyway shall mean a scenic byway as referenced in Title 23, United StatesCode, 131 (s).

"Visible" means capable of being seen (whether or not legible) withoutvisual aid by a person of normal visual acuity.

(Code 1950, 33-298; 1954, c. 588; 1960, c. 406; 1962, c. 176; 1966, c. 663;1970, c. 322; 1976, c. 14; 1980, c. 275; 1984, c. 750; 1993, c. 538; 1996, c.777; 2000, cc. 432, 449; 2002, c. 672.)

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