section .0200 – outdoor advertising
19A NCAC 02E .0201 DEFINITIONS FOR OUTDOOR ADVERTISING CONTROL
In addition to the definitions set forth in G.S. 136-128, the following definitions shall apply for purposes of outdoor advertising control:
(1) Abandoned Sign: A sign that is not being maintained as required by the rules in this Section. The absence of a valid lease is one indication of an abandoned sign. An outdoor advertising sign structure shall be considered to be abandoned if for a period of 12 months the sign has been without a message, contains obsolete advertising matter, or is significantly damaged or dilapidated.
(2) Automatic Changeable Facing Sign: A sign, display, or device which changes the message or copy on the sign facing electronically by movement or rotation of panels or slats.
(3) Blank Sign: A sign structure on which all faces contain no message, or which contains only a telephone number advertising its availability.
(4) Comprehensive Zoning: Zoning by local zoning authorities of each parcel of land under the jurisdiction of the local zoning authority placed in a zoning classification pursuant to a comprehensive plan, or reserved for future classification.
(a) A comprehensive plan means a development plan which guides decisions by the local zoning authority relating to zoning and the growth and development of the area.
(b) Even if comprehensively enacted, the following criteria shall determine whether such zoning is enacted primarily to permit outdoor advertising:
(i) The zoning classification provides for limited commercial or industrial activity only incidental to other primary land uses;
(ii) The commercial or industrial activities are permitted only by variance or special exceptions; or
(iii) The zoning constitutes spot or strip zoning. "Spot zoning" or "strip zoning" is zoning designed primarily for the purpose of permitting outdoor advertising signs in an area which would not normally permit outdoor advertising.
(5) Conforming Sign: A sign legally erected in a zoned or unzoned commercial or industrial area which meets all current legal requirements for erecting a new sign at that site.
(6) Controlled Access Highway: A highway on which entrance and exit accesses are permitted only at designated points.
(7) Controlled Route: Any interstate or federal-aid primary highway as it existed on June 1, 1991, and any highway which is or becomes a part of the National Highway System (NHS).
(8) Destroyed Sign: A sign no longer in existence due to factors other than vandalism or other criminal or tortious acts. An example of a destroyed sign includes a sign which has been blown down by the wind and sustains damage in excess of 50 percent as determined by the criteria in 19A NCAC 02E .0225(f).
(9) Dilapidated Sign: A sign which is shabby, neglected, or in disrepair, or which fails to be in the same form as originally constructed, or which fails to perform its intended function of conveying a message. Characteristics of a dilapidated sign include, but are not limited to, structural support failure, a sign not supported as originally constructed, panels or borders missing or falling off, intended messages cannot be interpreted by the motoring public, or a sign which is blocked by overgrown vegetation outside the highway right of way.
(10) Directional Sign: A sign which contains directional information about public places owned or operated by federal, state, or local governments or their agencies; publicly or privately owned natural phenomena, historic, cultural, scientific, educational, and religious sites; and areas of natural scenic beauty or naturally suited for outdoor recreation, deemed to be in the interest of the traveling public. Directional and other official signs and notices include, but are not limited to, public utility signs, service club and religious notices, or public service signs.
(a) Public Service Sign: A sign located on a school bus stop shelter which meets all the following requirements:
(i) identifies the donor, sponsor or contributor of said shelter;
(ii) is located on a school bus shelter which is authorized or approved by city, county, or state law, regulation, or ordinance, and at places approved by the city, county, or state agency controlling the highway involved;
(iii) contains only safety slogans or messages which shall occupy not less than 60 percent of the area of the sign;
(iv) does not exceed 32 square feet in area; and
(v) contains not more than one sign facing in any one direction.
(b) Public Utility Sign: A warning sign, informational sign, notice or other marker customarily erected and maintained by publicly or privately owned utilities, which are essential to their operations.
(c) Service Club and Religious Notices: Any sign or notice authorized by law which relates to meetings of nonprofit service clubs, charitable associations, or religious services. These signs shall not exceed eight square feet in area.
(11) Discontinued Sign: A sign no longer in existence. A discontinued sign includes a sign of which any part of a sign face is missing more than 180 days. In some cases, a sign may be both discontinued and dilapidated.
(12) Freeway: A divided arterial highway for through traffic with full control of access.
(13) Highway: A highway that is designated as a part of the interstate or federal-aid primary highway system as of June 1, 1991, or any highway which is or becomes a part of the National Highway System. A highway shall be a part of the National Highway System on the date the location of the highway has been approved finally by the appropriate federal authorities.
(14) Lease: An agreement, in writing, by which possession or use of land or interests therein is given for a specified purpose and period of time, and which is a valid contract under North Carolina laws.
(15) Main Traveled Way or Traveled Way: Part of a highway on which through traffic is carried, exclusive of paved shoulders. In the case of a divided highway, the traveled way of each of the separated roadways for traffic in opposite directions is a traveled way. It does not include frontage roads, turning roadways, or parking areas.
(16) Nonconforming Sign: A sign which was lawfully erected but which does not comply with the provisions of State law or rules passed at a later date or which later fails to comply with State law or rules due to changed conditions. For purposes of the outdoor advertising rules, nonconforming signs also include those signs which have become nonconforming pursuant to 19A NCAC 02E .1002(d) on scenic byways which were part of the interstate or federal-aid primary highway system as of June 1, 1991, or which are or become a part of the National Highway System.
(17) Official Sign/Notice: A sign or notice erected and maintained by public officers or public agencies within their territorial or zoning jurisdictions and pursuant to and in accordance with federal, state, or local law for the purpose of carrying out an official duty or responsibility. Official signs and notices include, but are not limited to, historical markers authorized by state law and erected by state or local government agencies or nonprofit historical societies.
(18) On-premise/On-property Sign: A sign which advertises the sale or lease of property upon which it is located or which advertises an activity conducted or product for sale on the property upon which it is located. An on-premise sign may not be converted to a permitted outdoor advertising sign unless it meets all rules in effect at the time of the conversion request. An on-premise sign must be located on property contiguous to the property on which the activity is located. Tracts not considered to be contiguous include, but are not limited to:
(a) Tracts of land separated by a federal, state, city, or public access maintained road;
(b) Tracts of land not under common ownership; or
(c) Tracts of land held in different estates or interests.
(19) Parkland: Any publicly owned land which is designated or used as a public park, recreation area, wildlife or waterfowl refuge or historic site.
(20) Permit Holder: A permit holder shall be the sign owner, and for purposes of the rules in this Section the terms and definitions shall be interchangeable, unless the Department of Transportation, through the appropriate district office, has been notified in writing that the permit holder is a person or entity other than the actual owner of the sign. In this case, the actual sign owner’s name, mailing address, and telephone number must be declared.
(21) Salvageable Sign Components: Components of the original sign structure prior to the damage that can be repaired or replaced on site by the use of labor only. If any materials, other than nuts, bolts, nails or similar hardware, are required in order to repair a component, the component is not considered to be salvageable.
(22) Scenic Area: Any area of particular beauty or historical significance as determined by the federal, state, or local official having jurisdiction thereof, and includes interests in land which have been acquired for the restoration, preservation and enhancement of beauty.
(23) Scenic Byway: A scenic highway or scenic byway designated by the Board of Transportation, regardless of whether the route so designated was part of the interstate or federal-aid primary highway system as of June 1, 1991, or any highway which is or becomes a part of the National Highway System.
(24) Sign: Any outdoor sign, sign structure, display, light, device, figure, painting, drawing, message, placard, poster, billboard, or other object which is designed, intended, or used to advertise or inform. A sign includes any of the parts or material of the structure, such as beams, poles, posts, and stringers, the only eventual purpose of which is to ultimately display a message or other information for public view. For purposes of these rules, the term "sign" and its definition shall be interchangeable with the following terms: outdoor advertising, outdoor advertising sign, outdoor advertising structure, outdoor advertising sign structure, sign structure, and structure.
(25) Sign Conforming by Virtue of the "Grandfather Clause:" A sign legally erected prior to the effective date of the Outdoor Advertising Control Act or prior to the addition of a route to the interstate or federal-aid primary system or NHS in a zoned or unzoned commercial or industrial area which does not meet all current standards for erecting a new sign at that site.
(26) Sign Face: The part of the sign, including trim and background, which contains the message or informative contents. For purposes of measuring the maximum area or height of a sign, embellishments or extended advertising shall be excluded.
(27) Sign Location/Site: A sign location or site for purposes of these rules shall be measured to the closest 1/100th of a mile, in conformance with Department of Transportation methods of measurement for all state roads. The location or site shall be determined and listed on each outdoor advertising permit application by DOT personnel.
(28) Sign Owner: A sign owner shall be the permit holder of record, and for purposes of the rules in this Section the terms and definitions shall be interchangeable, unless the Department of Transportation, through the appropriate district office, has been notified in writing that the sign owner is a person or entity other than the actual holder of the permit. In this case, the actual sign owner's name, mailing address, and telephone number must be declared.
(29) Significantly Damaged Sign: A sign which has been damaged or partially destroyed due to factors other than vandalism or other criminal or tortious acts to such extent that the damage to the sign is greater than fifty percent as determined by the criteria in 19A NCAC 02E .0225(f).
(30) Unzoned Commercial or Industrial Area: An area which is not zoned by state or local law, regulation, or ordinance, and which is within 660 feet of the nearest edge of the right of way of the interstate or federal-aid primary system or NHS, in which there is at least one commercial or industrial activity that meets all requirements specified in 19A NCAC 02E .0203(5).
(31) Zoned Commercial or Industrial Area: An area which is zoned for business, industry, commerce, or trade pursuant to a state or local zoning ordinance or regulation. Local zoning action must be taken pursuant to the state's zoning enabling statute or constitutional authority in accordance therewith. Zoning which is not part of comprehensive zoning or which is created primarily to permit outdoor advertising structures shall not be recognized as valid zoning for purposes of the Outdoor Advertising Control Act and the rules promulgated thereunder, unless the land is developed for commercial or industrial activity as defined under 19A NCAC 02E .0203(5).
History Note: Authority G.S. 136‑130;
Eff. July 1, 1978;
Amended Eff. August 1, 2000; December 1, 1993; March 1, 1993; December 1, 1990; January 1, 1984.