Proposed NCDOT Rule Change for Billboards

The NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is proposing a rule change that would override local ordinances and allow billboards with a state permit to be converted to digital and raised to 50 feet in height, even if such changes are not allowed by the applicable city or county ordinance.

NCDOT states that this rule change is being made to comply with outdoor advertising modernization amendments enacted during the 2013 General Assembly session and codified as NC General Statutes 136-131.2.

However, at the time the language in NCGS 136-131.2 was being debated by the NC House of Representatives, the bill sponsor, Rep. Tim Moffitt, stated that “the bill is not intended to allow an increase in the size of the sign” and “does not allow digitizing of signs.” *

Yet, now NCDOT is proposing new rules that would allow existing billboards to be digitized and raised in height to 50 feet.

What You Can Do

Please send comments to NCDOT; suggested comments are below.  Comments should be sent to Rulemaking@ncdot.gov  Comments must be sent by March 5, 2020.

  1. Tell NCDOT that you oppose the rule change that would override local ordinances and allow billboards with a state permit to be converted to digital and raised to 50 feet in height, even if such changes are not allowed by the applicable city or county ordinance.
  • Tell NCDOT that you support “Alternative 2” described on page 6 of the NCDOT Fiscal Note to recognize local government ordinances and limit the changes that could be made to an existing billboard as part of modernization.

More Information

The impact of the proposed rule change on local government regulatory authority is best understood by reading the NCDOT Fiscal Note, which can be viewed here.  The proposed NCDOT Rule Changes can be viewed here.

*  Debate of Senate Bill 112 in the NC House on July 11, 2013.  Furthermore, Representative Chuck McGrady on the same day offered an amendment to SB112 seeking to remove DOT as an “environmental agency” since the bill’s text allowed any environmental agency to preempt all local government regulations, thus removing all local controls over billboards statewide.  Representative Moffitt supported McGrady’s amendment, and the amendment passed 112 to 0.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or would like to discuss.

Dale McKeel

Board Member, Scenic North Carolina

dale_mckeel@yahoo.com

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