Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/25/1994 01:15 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
TAPE 94-51, SIDE B Number 008 HB 367 - CONTROL OF OUTDOOR ADVERTISING REP. JAMES motioned that HB 367 be moved from committee. Number 013 CHAIRMAN PORTER felt there should be discussion on the motion. REP. HARLEY OLBERG, Prime Sponsor of HB 367, testified that HB 367 would allow certain restricted exceptions to the state's limitations on outdoor advertising, thereby addressing the need for improved directional signage to accommodate the state's traveling public. These changes would facilitate efforts by roadside businesses to direct motorists to available services and products. In response to suggestions made by members of committees of both bodies last session, he wanted them to consider CSSB 367 today. CS for HB 367 allows one new exception to the state limitation on outdoor advertising signs, displays and devices. Directional signs could be placed in zoned or unzoned commercial or industrial areas along the state highway subject to stringent restrictions. The draft bill would also codify two existing DOT/PF programs in statute. They are space leasing program and the tourist oriented directional signage program. CS for HB 367 would help many small business owners while not negatively impact the scenery visible from Alaska's highways. He strongly encouraged support for this bill and asked that a committee substitute be drafted, which would be version k. The two changes in the CS are one, page 3, line 6. He said it used to read business adjacent to the highway, and it has been cleaned up to say activities conducted on or abutting the leased property, and the other one on line 20 of page 3, a municipality may regulate directional signs allowed under AS 19.25.105(a)(6) in a way that is more restrictive than AS 19.25.105(a)(6) by an ordinance that is adopted after the effective date of this act. Number 126 REP. NORDLUND inquired what the problem is that necessitates this legislation. Number 129 REP. OLBERG responded that the problem is, along the highway, say between Tok and Glenallen, a mom and pop operation are not allowed to have any sign off of there directing people to their business. This bill would allow them, within fifty miles of their operation, to place a maximum of up to four signs, with directions on them, on private property. This allows for private property placement only. Number 183 REP. PHILLIPS remarked that along the Sterling Highway they have some taxidermists, and he bought a beautiful piece of property along the bluff of Cook Inlet, as well as a house as a museum/workshop for the tourists. He put a beautiful hand crafted wood sign on his property along the highway, and was ordered to remove the sign. The cost to an individual is astronomical as a result of a stupid law. Number 188 REP. NORDLUND expressed a concern that we could end up with a plethora of signs along the highway that would not be very attractive and he wanted to know what sort of limitations are in this legislation to prevent that from occurring. Number 201 REP. OLBERG responded that in his area of the state, the shear lack of private property would be the most effective deterrent. Number 219 REP. PHILLIPS remarked that she is very much in support of this legislation and would encourage all committees to support this legislation. Number 249 CHRYSTAL SMITH, Alaska Municipal League, testified that the Municipal League has no problems with the concept of the bill, but has a problem with the municipalities being able to control the signs within their boundaries. She felt that Representative Olberg's amendment was a back-door approach to solving the problem and she felt that a municipality should not have to open up their sign ordinances again to comply with this legislation. She proposed that the bill be amended at page 3, line 20, stopping after AS 19.25.080 to 19.25.180, which would say that you could enact ordinances that regulate signs that are more restrictive. Number 292 REP. JAMES remarked that in the Interior there are a lot of people who can't find where they are going and she felt the municipality should be just as interested as finding their location. Number 308 MS. SMITH responded that that was true, but the decision needed to be made in the local environment and if a municipality already had a sign ordinance that said x, y, z, that then they shouldn't have to go back into their ordinance because of a change in state law. Number 322 LYNN STANTON testified via teleconference from Seward that she supports the bill as it is presently written. Number 332 CHAIRMAN PORTER inquired as to the applicability of the section relating to municipalities. He asked if what was being said was that a municipality may have a more restrictive sign ordinance if they want. He asked if there was any reason they have to adopt it after enactment of this legislation. Number 339 REP. OLBERG asked, if we exclude the municipalities from the more liberal provisions of this bill, can they then by ordinance take advantage of the exception granted? Number 363 JERRY LUCKHAUPT, Legislative Legal Counsel, Division of Legal Services, Legislative Affairs Agency, testified that what is trying to be attempted here is that we are allowing the municipalities to enact sign ordinances that are anything that they want. They can be more restrictive than the state, they can do whatever they want, except in this area. This new allowance for signs that the legislature is creating is that this is such a new area, no one's been able to enjoinder that and any previous sign ordinance to this that could be out there; they are saying this is something we want everybody to look at, including the municipalities. Any sign ordinances the municipality has enacted prior to this can never have engendered this possibility, because it wasn't out there. It wasn't an option in Alaska. The thought of this language is that if a municipality wants to be more restrictive in this particular area, because they haven't been able to consider this, any previous sign ordinance has not been able to consider this exception that is now there, and thus they would have to adopt a new section, not a new sign ordinance. CHAIRMAN PORTER inquired whether a municipality had in place an ordinance that would preclude, and we are now voiding it and making them revisit it. Number 412 MR. LUCKHAUPT responded yes for this particular statute. Number 415 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked Chrystal Smith if she know of anybody that had this kind of restriction that this would fit under. Number 419 MS. SMITH responded that she was not sure. She reiterated the point that municipalities that have sign ordinances regulate the size and type of sign within their boundaries and should not have to revisit their ordinances as a result of passage of CSHB 367. Number 433 DAVID KAMRATH, Legislative Assistant to Representative Harley Olberg, Prime Sponsor of HB 367, commented that this bill allows for criteria that a business must be at least twenty miles away and that seventy-five percent of the business receipts must come from tourists, so you are not going to have every business in town putting up signs. Another point to be made is that the zoned and unzoned areas along the rural highways, the only thing that is zoned or unzoned is where a business is located and in operation. A business must be there, open, and must contact a property owner down the highway for permission to put a sign on their property. Number 452 MR. LUCKHAUPT remarked that this exception only applies to those areas that are zoned industrial or commercial. This exception of allowing signs would not exist in those residential areas and other zoned areas. Again, it only applies to interstate and primary highways within those municipalities. So it doesn't apply to those roads that are not part of the interstate or primary system of this state. Number 468 CHAIRMAN PORTER remarked that he hopes that doesn't appear to be too adverse to those municipalities. Number 477 REP. KOTT inquired as to what we have on the books at this time that would require those businesses who erected a sign to actually maintain the sign. Number 491 MR. LUCKHAUPT responded that the exceptions and also the existing language for signs in statute require that they be erected and maintained pursuant to DOT's directions. The DOT fights with people all the time about signs. Jeff Otteson from DOT has been testifying on how DOT requires and maintains signs. The DOT has in AS 19.25 dealing with offending signs and how they can be required to be maintained or taken down. REP. PHILLIPS moved the CS for HB 367, version K. CHAIRMAN PORTER, hearing no objection, moved the adoption of CSHB 367, version k. Number 553 REP. NORDLUND inquired what are the DOT requirements for the type, size and lighting. Number 567 MR. LUCKHAUPT responded that you have the requirements that the letters be a specific size relating to the speed limit associated with the road. Also, if the road has a certain amount of traffic on it, the lighting has to be of a certain type. The sign can be reflective, but it can't be reflective to the extent that it could blind certain drivers. Number 584 REP. GREEN inquired whether there was any provision in the bill that would require the mom and pop operation to remove the sign if they closed the establishment. Number 589 Mr. KAMRATH responded that the DOT has the regulation authority to monitor that type of situation. Number 607 MR. LUCKHAUPT responded that Section 19.35.150, existing law, provides that an advertising sign, display or device which violates the provisions of this chapter is a public nuisance and the department is required under that statute to give thirty days notice of an unconforming or illegal sign. That would be a sign that doesn't meet these requirements or isn't maintained. Thus, the DOT can order the removal of the sign, or after thirty days the DOT can remove the sign and charge the cost of removal to the owner of the property. Number 620 REP. KOTT inquired, if this statute were to be implemented, would we see signs like the Marlboro at Harley's bar one mile down the road type of signs. Number 627 MR. LUCKHAUPT responded that we do put requirements on what the signs can advertise, on page 6. It actually has to indicate the specific business and must provide directional information and is limited to those situations. Number 635 REP. OLBERG remarked that the sign must be for an individual business entity that is a significant interest to the traveling public. Number 644 REP. PHILLIPS motioned to move CSHB 367 from committee with individual recommendations and fiscal notes as indicated. CHAIRMAN PORTER, hearing no objections, declared CSHB 367 discharged from committee. The House Judiciary Committee Standing Committee was adjourned at 2:40 p.m.