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County is Enforcing State Law Banning Advertisements in Highway Right-of-Way

Albemarle County is currently enforcing an existing state law against advertising signs in the highway right-of-way, along designated entrance corridors in the County. This program is  conducted in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Transportation’s ongoing illegal sign removal efforts, and County staff  has been authorized to conduct this enforcement through a signed agreement with VDOT.

Advertisements are defined as devices that are intended to draw attention to or to solicit public support for goods, merchandise, property, business, services, entertainment or amusement activities.  Any such advertisements are illegal in the highway right-of-way and are the focus of this enforcement effort, which was initiated by the County Board of Supervisors in February of 2009 to improve safety and aesthetics along entrance corridors like Route 29 and Route 250.  This reinvigorated program previously yielded many illegal signs as well as a decrease in their numbers over time.  Staff will consider additional enforcement options if we continue to see flagrant violators. 

County inspectors are removing advertisements placed in the right-of-way in response to complaints that are received and as part of their regular duties as they travel around the county.  The County is also taking proactive measures such as conducting weekend sweeps to remove signs that are in violation.  All enforcement activities will be conducted with existing budgeted resources, so no significant cost impact is anticipated from this program.
Illegal advertisements removed by County staff may be discarded, and violators can be subject to a $100 fine per sign.

County staff  is focusing on this illegal sign issue at the request of the Board of Supervisors, who are concerned about the traffic safety impacts of signs that distract drivers and block sight lines and who find the signs to be visual clutter than detracts from the appearance of the roadways.  Anyone with questions should contact  Ron Higgins at (434)296-5832.

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