CHAPTER 87

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 17, CHAPTER 11 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO OUTDOOR ADVERTISING.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:

Section 1. Chapter 11 of Title 17 of the Delaware Code is hereby amended by striking out said Chapter 11 and substituting therefore a new Chapter 11 of Title 17, as follows:

CHAPTER 11. REGULATION OF OUTDOOR

ADVERTISING

SUBCHAPTER I. GENERAL PROVISIONS

§ 1101. Purpose

The rapid growth in the use of motor vehicles throughout this State, the concurrent extension of highways, built or improved at public expense, has led to great changes in the extent and character of public travel. The investment of this State, municipalities and towns in good roads, parks, parkways, playgrounds and reservations, the safety, convenience and welfare of the inhabitants have been affected. The regulation and control of outdoor advertising signs, displays and devices of all kinds is provided for in order to promote the general welfare, especially in the particulars recited.

§ 1102. Scope and definitions

(a) The powers and authority granted in this chapter are in derogation of no other powers or authority granted by or created or exercised under any other statute, or by a planning or zoning board or authority, or other public officer, but shall be construed as in addition to any such power or authority, which shall remain unaffected.

(b) As used in this chapter:

(1) "Outdoor advertising" or "outdoor advertising signs, displays and devices" shall include any outdoor sign, display, device, picture, emblem, trade-mark, painting, drawing, message, placard, poster, billboard, light or other thing which is designed, intended or used to advertise or inform.

(2) "Interstate System" means that portion of the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways located within this State, constructed in accordance with and approved by the Secretary of Commerce as an official portion of the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways pursuant to the provisions of Title 23 ("Highways") of the United States Code.

(3) "Controlled portions of the Interstate System" shall include segments of the highways of the Interstate System constructed on rights-of-way, the entire width of which was acquired subsequent to July 1, 1956, except those which traverse commercial or industrial zones within the boundaries of incorporated municipalities, as such boundaries existed on September 21, 1959, wherein the use of real property adjacent to highways of the Interstate System is subject to municipal regulation or control, or which traverse other areas where the land use, as of September 21, 1959, was clearly established by the laws of this State as industrial or commercial.

(4) "The laws of this State" shall include a provision of the Constitution or statutes of this State, or an ordinance, rule, or regulation enacted or adopted by an agency or political subdivision of this State pursuant to the Constitution or statutes.

(5) "Protected areas" means all areas inside the boundaries of this State which are adjacent to and within 660 feet of the edge of the right-of-way of all controlled portions of the Interstate System.

(6) "Informational site" means an area or site established and maintained within or adjacent to the right-of-way of a highway of the Interstate System by or under the supervision or control of the Department, wherein panels for the display of advertising and informational signs may be erected and maintained.

(7) "Scenic area" means any public park or area of particular scenic beauty or historical significance designated by or pursuant to the laws of this State as a scenic area.

(8) "The edge of the roadway" means the edge of the paved surface of a paved public road and the edge of the graded surface of an unpaved public road.

(9) "Trade name" shall include any brand name, trademark, distinctive symbol, or other similar device or thing used to identify particular products or services.

(10) "Visible" mean capable of being seen (whether or not legible) without visual aid by a person of normal visual acuity.

§ 1103. Enforcement of chapter; rules and regulations, examinations; territorial limitations

(a) The Department shall—

(1) Enforce the provisions of this chapter; and

(2) Make, publish and enforce such regulations for the proper control and restriction of outdoor advertising signs, displays and devices as may be required to accomplish the general purposes of this chapter and these specific objectives:

(A) To prevent unreasonable distraction of operators of motor vehicles;

(B) To provide maximum visibility;

(C) To prevent confusion with traffic lights, signs and signals and to prevent interference with the effectiveness of traffic regulations;

(D) To preserve the natural scenic beauty of areas adjacent to public highways.

Such regulations may include provisions limiting the number of such signs, displays and devices which may be erected or maintained along any given segment of a public highway, controlling the use of trade names on such signs, displays and devices, and prescribing the spacing, location, types, contents and specifications of such signs, displays and devices. Regulations pertaining to outdoor advertising signs, displays and devices within protected areas shall conform to the national standards for the regulation by states of outdoor advertising, promulgated by the Department of Commerce on November 10, 1958, together with any amendment or substitute standards adopted by the federal authority supervising the grant of federal aid for highway purposes.

(b) All employees of the Department, or any peace officer of this State, when so directed by the Department or its officers, may enter into and upon any land or building to make any examination or survey which the Department deems necessary to the effective administration of the provisions of this chapter, or to enforce the provisions of this chapter.

(c) The territory under the jurisdiction of the Department, for the purposes of this chapter, shall include all of this State outside the corporate limits of any city or incorporated village or town and all protected areas within such corporate limits.

(d) The provisions of this chapter shall apply only to outdoor advertising signs, displays and devices situate outside the corporate limits of any city or incorporated town or village in this State, and to those outdoor advertising signs, displays and devices situate in protected areas within such corporate limits.

§ 1104. Application and issuance of permits; revocation

(a) Except as otherwise provided, no person, whether engaged in the business of outdoor advertising or not, shall erect, maintain or display any outdoor advertising sign, display or device, above or upon real property, without first obtaining a permit therefor from the Department.

(b) A separate application for a permit shall be made for each separate outdoor advertising sign, display or device on a form furnished by the Department, which application shall contain such information as it may require. Each application shall be accompanied by the written consent of the owner or tenant of the real property upon which such sign, display or device is to be erected or maintained. Application shall be made in like manner for a permit to maintain any existing outdoor advertising sign, display or device or to renew a permit.

(c) The Department, in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, shall issue or renew permits for a period of at least one year for the erection and maintenance of all types of outdoor advertising signs, displays and devices; provided, however, no permit shall be issued for the erection or construction of any sign which would be in violation of local law or ordinance at the time application is filed.

(d) The Department may establish and collect fees for the issuance of permits and renewals thereof. The amount of such charge shall be so fixed as to provide the Department with the funds deemed necessary by it to defray the costs of the administration of this chapter.

(e) When an application for a permit or for a renewal thereof is made by a non-resident or by a foreign corporation engaged in the business of outdoor advertising, the Department, in its discretion, as a condition to the issuance of such permit or renewal, may require such corporation to deposit with the Department a bond, in an amount and with surety to be approved by the Department, to secure such corporation's compliance with the provisions of this chapter.

§ 1105. Advertising identification; exception

The Department shall require that each outdoor advertising sign, display or device shall bear an identifying tag or plate to be issued by the Department; and, if erected or maintained by an outdoor advertiser that it shall also bear his name and the Department shall make suitable provisions for the details thereof; excepting, however, all signs, devices or announcements which a telephone, telegraph or electric power company places on its poles to indicate danger or ownership thereof, or on buildings to indicate the places where its services are available, or its offices are situated, or crossing signs, devices or announcements erected or maintained by incorporated railroad or railway companies or caution crossing and danger stop signs erected by utility companies or municipal authorities.

§ 1106. Removal upon expiration of revocation of permit

All outdoor advertising signs, displays and devices shall be removed by the outdoor advertiser or other person, erecting, owning, maintaining or displaying the same, or, in the event of his default, by the owner or tenant of the premises upon which any such sign, display or device is located, within 30 days from the date of the expiration or revocation of the permit for the same.

§ 1107. Unlawful to remove or damage road markers, etc., or to place advertising on highways

(a) No person shall willfully or maliciously displace, remove, destroy or injure a mile-board, mile-stone, danger-sign or signal, guide-sign, or guide-post or any inscription thereon, lawfully within a public highway.

(b) No person shall in any manner paint, print, place, put or affix an advertisement upon or to any rock, stone, tree, fence, stump, pole, mile-stone, danger-signal, guide-sign, guidepost, building or other object lawfully within the limits of any public highway.

§ 1108. Location and condition of advertising regulated

(a) Subject to the provisions of subsections (b) and (c) of this section, no outdoor advertising sign, display or device except a directional or warning sign erected by or with the approval of the Department shall be erected or maintained

(1) On the right of way of any public highway;

(2) Within 25 feet of the right of way line of any public highway if visible from any portion of the same;

(0) Within 25 feet of any public playground, school or church if visible from any portion of the same;

(4) Upon the inside of curves or at or near a railroad crossing or a highway intersection, if such would obstruct or interfere with the view of a train, locomotive, street car or other vehicle at or approaching such crossing or intersection, or so as to obstruct the view of such intersection or crossing or of a turn or a sharp change in alignment or in any manner dangerous to the public;

(5) If such sign, display or device is obsolete or its not in good physical condition;

(6) If such sign, display or device is not securely affixed to a substantial structure or in any way endangers traffic on any public highway.

(b) Any outdoor advertising sign, display or device which is not located in a protected area, which complies with all applicable provisions of this subchapter except Section 1108 (a) (2) and which at the time of its erection was more than 25 feet distant from the edge of the then existing roadway may be maintained at its present location until December 31, 1966.

(c) Where in specific instances the Department determines that physical conditions at a particular location make it impractical for an outdoor advertising sign, display or device to be maintained there in compliance with Section 1108 (a) (2), any outdoor advertising sign, display or device which was erected at that location prior to the date of the passage of this act, which is not located in a protected area, and which complies with all applicable provisions of this subchapter except section 1108 (a) (2) may be maintained at its present location.

(d) No advertising sign, display or device of any character shall be posted, painted, placed or affixed in any way upon rocks, trees, fences or barricades, within 25 feet of the right of way line of any public highway.

§ 1109. Forbidden advertising

No outdoor advertising signs, displays or devices shall display copy which violates any Federal or state law, or which is offensive to the moral standards of the community at the time the copy is offered for display, or which is false, misleading or deceptive.

§ 1110. Harmony of regulations

No zoning board or commission, nor any other public officer or agency shall permit any outdoor advertising which is prohibited by this chapter or by the Department under the provisions of this chapter, nor shall the Department permit any outdoor advertising which is prohibited by any other law or by any board, officer or public agency in the lawful exercise of its or their powers.

§ 1111. Public nuisance; abatement

Any outdoor advertising sign, display or device, which is erected or maintained in violation of this chapter or any regulations lawfully adopted pursuant to this chapter is declared to be a public nuisance and may be forthwith removed, obliterated or abated by the Department, its employees or any peace officer of this State, when such violation is not corrected after thirty (30) days written notice of the violation to the owner of the sign, display or device or to the owner, lessee or occupant of the land upon which said sign, display or device is located.

§ 1112. Injunctive relief

Any taxpayer may maintain an action for an injunction to restrain any violation of the provisions of this chapter or of any regulation lawfully adopted pursuant thereto.

§ 1113. Violations and penalties

Whoever violates the provisions of this chapter or any regulation lawfully adopted pursuant to this chapter shall be fined not less than $10 nor more than $50.

§ 1114. Signs and announcements excepted from provisions of this subchapter

The classes of signs and announcements described below, even when otherwise falling within the category of outdoor advertising signs, displays and devices, are excepted from the provisions of this subchapter:

1. A sign erected or maintained upon property to identify a business conducted thereon provided such sign does not exceed 30 square feet in area and is placed on the premises;

2. A sign containing 6 square feet or less upon real property stating that the property, or a part thereof, is for sale or for rent;

3. A notice or advertisement required by law in any legal proceeding or put upon by public authority;

4. A danger or precautionary sign containing 2 square feet or less relating to the premises or a sign warning of the condition of or danger of travel on a highway;

5. Any notice or sign of any railroad or other transportation or transmission or communication company necessary for the direction or information or safety of the public;

0. Any sign, containing 6 square feet or less and bearing announcement of any town, village or city advertising itself or local industries, meetings, buildings, historical markers or attractions, provided the same is maintained at public expense.

SUBCHAPTER II. AREAS ADJACENT TO HIGHWAYS

OF THE INTERSTATE SYSTEM

§ 1121. Purpose

The safety, comfort, convenience and enjoyment of public travel upon highways of the Interstate System, the free flow of commerce thereon, and the public investment therein require control of the erection and maintenance of outdoor advertising in areas adjacent to the rights of way of these highways. Therefore, it is declared to be the policy of this State that the erection and maintenance of outdoor advertising in areas adjacent to the rights of way of highways of the Interstate System shall be regulated in accordance with the terms of this chapter and the regulations promulgated pursuant thereto. This subchapter is intended to supplement the general provisions of Subchapter I of this chapter in such a manner as to provide a statutory basis for the regulation of outdoor advertising in areas of this State adjacent to the Interstate System, consistent with the national policy declared by Congress in section 131 of Title 23 ("Highways") of the United States Code.

§ 1122. Advertising in protected areas

Except as permitted by Sections 1123 and 1124 of this chapter, no outdoor advertising sign, display or device shall be erected or maintained within any protected areas in any part of the advertising or informative content thereof is visible from any place on the main-travelled way of a controlled portion of the Interstate System.

§ 1123. Official signs in protected areas

Nothing contained in this subchapter shall prevent the erection or maintenance within a protected area of directional or other official signs or notices erected and maintained by public officials or agencies pursuant to and in accordance with direction or authorization contained in the laws of this State or in federal law, for the purpose of carrying out an official duty or responsibility.

§ 1124. Permitted signs in protected areas

(a) Subject to the provision of subsections (b), (c), and (d) of this section, the erection and maintenance of outdoor advertising signs, displays and devices used exclusively for any of the following purposes shall be permitted within protected areas:

(1) To advertise the sale or lease of property upon which such sign, display or device is located;

(2) To designate the name of the owner or occupant of the premises upon which such sign, display or device is located or to identify such premises;

(3) To advertise goods manufactured or produced, or services rendered, on the property where such sign, display or device is located;

(4) To advertise activities being conducted at a location within twelve miles of the point at which such sign, display or device is located;

(5) To publish information deemed by the Department to be in specific interest of the traveling public, such as information concerning scenic areas, public areas operated by the State or political subdivision thereof, places where public utility service is available and places for camping, lodging, eating and vehicle service and repair.

(b) The erection and maintenance of outdoor advertising signs, displays and devices used for the purpose described in subsection (a) (4) of this section shall be permitted within protected areas outside informational sites only where such signs, displays and devices are visible exclusively to traffic on the Interstate System which is not served by an informational site within twelve miles of the advertised activity.

(c) The erection and maintenance of outdoor advertising signs, displays and devices used for the purpose described in subsection (a) (5) of this section shall be permitted within protected areas outside informational sites only where such signs, displays and devices are more than twelve miles from the nearest panel within an informational site serving traffic on the Interstate System to which such outdoor advertising is visible.

(d) Outdoor advertising signs, displays and devices used exclusively for the purposes set forth in subsection (a) shall be subject to all provisions of this chapter other than those contained in section 1122 and to all regulations promulgated by the Department pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.

§ 1125. Forbidden advertising

No outdoor advertising of any character except the signs or notices described in section 1123 shall be posted, painted, placed or affixed in any way upon rocks, trees or other natural features in protected areas.

§ 1126. Construction and maintenance of informational sites

(a) The Department may design, erect and maintain informational sites within protected areas in such number and at such locations as the Department may determine to be necessary to meet the need of safety and effectively provide information of specific interest to the travelling public; provided however, that no such informational site shall be constructed without the approval of the Secretary of Commerce of the United States.

() Outdoor advertising placed within informational sites shall be subject to all provisions of this chapter and all regulations promulgated by the Department pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.

(a) Application for a permit to place any outdoor advertising within an informational site shall be made on a form prescribed by the Department. All permits shall be issued for a period of at least one year. The Department shall charge fees for the permits and for renewals thereof sufficient to amortize the cost of the structure within an informational site upon which such outdoor advertising is placed within the expected life of such structure, and sufficient to pay for the maintenance of such structure.

§ 1127. Acquisition by Department of advertising rights and property

Whenever the Department shall consider it necessary in the execution of this subchapter, the Department may acquire, by purchase or condemnation, advertising rights of any other rights or interests in real property located within 660 feet of the edge of the right of way of any controlled portion of the Interstate System. Such acquisitions are declared to be acquisitions for public uses. The cost of such acquisitions shall be considered as a part of the cost of right of way of such highway.

§ 1128. Agreements with federal government or agencies

The Department may enter into agreements with the Secretary of Commerce of the United States as provided in section 131 of Title 23 ("Highways") of the United States Code, relating to the control of outdoor advertising in areas adjacent to the Interstate System, consistent with the provisions of this chapter, and take action in the name of the State to comply with the terms of such agreement. The Department may accept any allotment of funds by the United States, or any department or agency thereof, authorized by the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1958, or any subsequent legislation supplementary to or amending such Act, in connection with any agreement entered into by the Department and the Secretary of Commerce of the United States relating to control of outdoor advertising in areas adjacent to the Interstate System.

§ 1129. Relationship of this subchapter to other provisions of this chapter

The provisions of this subchapter relating to the regulation of outdoor advertising in areas adjacent to controlled portions of the Interstate System are in addition to and not in lieu of the provisions of subchapter I of this chapter.

Section 2. Separability

If any section, subsection or provisions of this chapter, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of this chapter and the application of such section or other provision to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.

Approved June 16, 1961.