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Title XIV ROADS AND WATERWAYS

Chapter 226

Effective - 28 Aug 2002 bottom

  226.540.  Signs permitted on certain highways — lighting restrictions — size, location — zones — specifications. — Notwithstanding any other provisions of sections 226.500 to 226.600, outdoor advertising shall be permitted within six hundred and sixty feet of the nearest edge of the right-of-way of highways located on the interstate, federal-aid primary system as it existed on June 1, 1991, or the national highway system as amended in areas zoned industrial, commercial or the like and in unzoned commercial and industrial areas as defined in this section, subject to the following regulations which are consistent with customary use in this state:

  (1)  Lighting:

  (a)  No revolving or rotating beam or beacon of light that simulates any emergency light or device shall be permitted as part of any sign.  No flashing, intermittent, or moving light or lights will be permitted except scoreboards and other illuminated signs designating public service information, such as time, date, or temperature, or similar information, will be allowed; tri-vision, projection, and other changeable message signs shall be allowed subject to Missouri highways and transportation commission regulations;

  (b)  External lighting, such as floodlights, thin line and gooseneck reflectors are permitted, provided the light source is directed upon the face of the sign and is effectively shielded so as to prevent beams or rays of light from being directed into any portion of the main traveled way of the federal-aid primary highways as of June 1, 1991, and all highways designated as part of the National Highway System by the National Highway System Designation Act of 1995 and those highways subsequently designated as part of the National Highway System and the lights are not of such intensity so as to cause glare, impair the vision of the driver of a motor vehicle, or otherwise interfere with a driver's operation of a motor vehicle;

  (c)  No sign shall be so illuminated that it interferes with the effectiveness of, or obscures, an official traffic sign, device, or signal;

  (2)  Size of signs:

  (a)  The maximum area for any one sign shall be eight hundred square feet with a maximum height of thirty feet and a maximum length of seventy-two feet, inclusive of border and trim but excluding the base or apron, supports, and other structural members.  The area shall be measured as established herein and in rules promulgated by the commission.  In determining the size of a conforming or nonconforming sign structure, temporary cutouts and extensions installed for the length of a specific display contract shall not be considered a substantial increase to the size of the permanent display; provided the actual square footage of such temporary cutouts or extensions may not exceed thirty-three percent of the permanent display area.  Signs erected in accordance with the provisions of sections 226.500 to 226.600 prior to August 28, 2002, which fail to meet the requirements of this provision shall be deemed legally nonconforming as defined herein;

  (b)  The maximum size limitations shall apply to each side of a sign structure, and signs may be placed back to back, double faced, or in V-type construction with not more than two displays to each facing, but such sign structure shall be considered as one sign;

  (c)  After August 28, 1999, no new sign structure shall be erected in which two or more displays are stacked one above the other.  Stacked structures existing on or before August 28, 1999, in accordance with sections 226.500 to 226.600 shall be deemed legally nonconforming and may be maintained in accordance with the provisions of sections 226.500 to 226.600.  Structures displaying more than one display on a horizontal basis shall be allowed, provided that total display areas do not exceed the maximum allowed square footage for a sign structure pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (a) of this subdivision;

  (3)  Spacing of signs:

  (a)  On all interstate highways, freeways, and nonfreeway federal-aid primary highways as of June 1, 1991, and all highways designated as part of the National Highway System by the National Highway System Designation Act of 1995 and those highways subsequently designated as part of the National Highway System:

  a.  No sign structure shall be erected within one thousand four hundred feet of an existing sign on the same side of the highway;

  b.  Outside of incorporated municipalities, no structure may be located adjacent to or within five hundred feet of an interchange, intersection at grade, or safety rest area.  Such five hundred feet shall be measured from the beginning or ending of the pavement widening at the exit from or entrance to the main traveled way.  For purpose of this subparagraph, the term "incorporated municipalities" shall include "urban areas", except that such "urban areas" shall not be considered "incorporated municipalities" if it is finally determined that such would have the effect of making Missouri be in noncompliance with the requirements of Title 23, United States Code, Section 131;

  (b)  The spacing between structure provisions of this subdivision do not apply to signs which are separated by buildings, natural surroundings, or other obstructions in such manner that only one sign facing located within such distance is visible at any one time.  Directional or other official signs or those advertising the sale or lease of the property on which they are located, or those which advertise activities on the property on which they are located, including products sold, shall not be counted, nor shall measurements be made from them for the purpose of compliance with spacing provisions;

  (c)  No sign shall be located in such manner as to obstruct or otherwise physically interfere with the effectiveness of an official traffic sign, signal, or device or obstruct or physically interfere with a motor vehicle operator's view of approaching, merging, or intersecting traffic;

  (d)  The measurements in this section shall be the minimum distances between outdoor advertising sign structures measured along the nearest edge of the pavement between points directly opposite the signs along each side of the highway and shall apply only to outdoor advertising sign structures located on the same side of the highway involved;

  (4)  As used in this section, the words "unzoned commercial and industrial land" shall be defined as follows:  that area not zoned by state or local law or ordinance and on which there is located one or more permanent structures used for a commercial business or industrial activity or on which a commercial or industrial activity is actually conducted together with the area along the highway extending outwardly seven hundred fifty feet from and beyond the edge of such activity.  All measurements shall be from the outer edges of the regularly used improvements, buildings, parking lots, landscaped, storage or processing areas of the commercial or industrial activity and along and parallel to the edge of the pavement of the highway.  Unzoned land shall not include:

  (a)  Land on the opposite side of the highway from an unzoned commercial or industrial area as defined in this section and located adjacent to highways located on the interstate, federal-aid primary system as it existed on June 1, 1991, or the national highway system as amended, unless the opposite side of the highway qualifies as a separate unzoned commercial or industrial area; or

  (b)  Land zoned by a state or local law, regulation, or ordinance;

  (5)  "Commercial or industrial activities" as used in this section means those which are generally recognized as commercial or industrial by zoning authorities in this state, except that none of the following shall be considered commercial or industrial:

  (a)  Outdoor advertising structures;

  (b)  Agricultural, forestry, ranching, grazing, farming, and related activities, including seasonal roadside fresh produce stands;

  (c)  Transient or temporary activities;

  (d)  Activities more than six hundred sixty feet from the nearest edge of the right-of-way or not visible from the main traveled way;

  (e)  Activities conducted in a building principally used as a residence;

  (f)  Railroad tracks and minor sidings;

  (6)  The words "unzoned commercial or industrial land" shall also include all areas not specified in this section which constitute an "unzoned commercial or industrial area" within the meaning of the present Section 131 of Title 23 of the United States Code, or as such statute may be amended.  As used in this section, the words "zoned commercial or industrial area" shall refer to those areas zoned commercial or industrial by the duly constituted zoning authority of a municipality, county, or other lawfully established political subdivision of the state, or by the state and which is within seven hundred fifty feet of one or more permanent commercial or industrial activities.  Commercial or industrial activities as used in this section are limited to those activities:

  (a)  In which the primary use of the property is commercial or industrial in nature;

  (b)  Which are clearly visible from the highway and recognizable as a commercial business;

  (c)  Which are permanent as opposed to temporary or transitory and of a nature that would customarily be restricted to commercial or industrial zoning in areas comprehensively zoned; and

  (d)  In determining whether the primary use of the property is commercial or industrial pursuant to paragraph (a) of this subdivision, the state highways and transportation commission shall consider the following factors:

  a.  The presence of a permanent and substantial building;

  b.  The existence of utilities and local business licenses, if any, for the commercial activity;

  c.  On-premise signs or other identification;

  d.  The presence of an owner or employee on the premises for at least twenty hours per week;

  (7)  In zoned commercial and industrial areas, whenever a state, county or municipal zoning authority has adopted laws or ordinances which include regulations with respect to the size, lighting and spacing of signs, which regulations are consistent with the intent of sections 226.500 to 226.600 and with customary use, then from and after the effective date of such regulations, and so long as they shall continue in effect, the provisions of this section shall not apply to the erection of signs in such areas.  Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, after August 28, 1992, with respect to any outdoor advertising which is regulated by the provisions of subdivision (1), (3) or (4) of section 226.520 or subsection 1 of section 226.527:

  (a)  No county or municipality shall issue a permit to allow a regulated sign to be newly erected without a permit issued by the state highways and transportation commission;

  (b)  A county or municipality may charge a reasonable one-time permit or inspection fee to assure compliance with local wind load and electrical requirements when the sign is first erected, but a county or municipality may not charge a permit or inspection fee for such sign after such initial fee.  Changing the display face or performing routine maintenance shall not be considered as erecting a new sign;

  (8)  The state highways and transportation commission on behalf of the state of Missouri, may seek agreement with the Secretary of Transportation of the United States under Section 131 of Title 23, United States Code, as amended, that sections 226.500 to 226.600 are in conformance with that Section 131 and provides effective control of outdoor advertising signs as set forth therein.  If such agreement cannot be reached and the penalties under subsection (b) of Section 131 are invoked, the attorney general of this state shall institute proceedings described in subsection (1) of that Section 131.

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(L. 1965 2d Ex. Sess. p. 900 § 5, A.L. 1972 S.B. 382, A.L. 1976 H.B. 1478, A.L. 1992 S.B. 652, A.L. 1999 S.B. 61, A.L. 2002 H.B. 1196 merged with H.B. 1508)

(1987)  The language of this section includes both the interstate system and the primary highway system. Scaman v. Mo. Highway and Transp. Dept. 736 S.W.2d 58 (Mo. App.).


---- end of effective   28 Aug 2002 ----

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