Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/02/1994 01:40 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR introduced SB 157 (PROHIBITED HIGHWAY ADVERTISING) ) as the next order of business. SENATOR FRANK, Prime Sponsor, explained that SB 157 would allow advertising for directional signing for highway dependent businesses. Currently, federal law prohibits off premises advertising on federally aided highways. He noted that the state law goes further, the federal law allows off premises signing for areas zoned commercial or industrial. He directed the committee to section 2 on page 3 of SB 157, where authorization for the department's airspace leasing program would be put into statutes. Business on or adjacent to the highway can lease right-of-way space from the department or the state to put up a sign. The Tourist Orientational Directional Signing (TODS) program authorized by the federal government would also be placed in statutes. SENATOR LITTLE stated that she had the responsibility of writing and enforcing the Soldotna sign ordinance. She asked if SB 157 would override a municipality's ability to have stricter signing regulations. SENATOR FRANK said yes, but only to a limited degree. SB 157 does not allow a municipality to prohibit a sign authorized in section 1 of the bill. SENATOR HALFORD indicated that it would be controlled by zoning. SENATOR FRANK agreed, signs would only be allowed in areas zoned commercial or industrial. SENATOR LITTLE emphasized the need to have an exemption for municipalities who currently have or wish to have their own signing regulations. SENATOR FRANK said that he would be willing to consider language speaking to Senator Little's concerns. Allowing for limited signing is an important element of SB 157. He pointed out the need to review that concern with care so as not to lose the intent of the bill. SENATOR LITTLE agreed that the intent of SB 157 should not be lost. She stated that Soldotna had restrictive sign regulations in order to comply with state regulations. She felt some loosening would occur, but cities such as Soldotna should not be forced to loosen their current regulations. TAPE 94-13, SIDE B Number 590 SENATOR HALFORD felt that the national sign ordinance was a national disgrace. He stated that he wanted the minimum mandate necessary in order not to lose federal funds. From that point, municipalities should be allowed to make their own regulations. SENATOR LITTLE inquired as to the possibility that federal funds would be lost through the passage of SB 157. SENATOR FRANK said no, SB 157 does not go as far as the federal law allows. Currently, state law does not allow the exemption allowed in federal law for signing on property zoned commercial or industrial. SB 157 opens a limited window of opportunity for commercial or industrial zoned areas. SENATOR HALFORD referred to page 2, lines 15-18 of SB 157 when asking why an individual business must document at least 75 percent; why not 25 percent, 50 percent, or a significant portion of their revenue. Would that effect federal funds? He inquired of the 20 mile restriction. He expressed the need to know what could be done for these businesses to have informative signs regardless of whether 75 percent of their business comes from 20 miles away. SENATOR FRANK explained that SB 157 attempts to provide highway dependent businesses an opportunity under state law to loosen the current restrictive signing laws. He indicated that they are attempting to help the general public while staying within the federal guidelines. He stated that he was open to suggestions regarding the percentage of the business and the mileage requirements. SENATOR HALFORD asserted that as long as municipalities can adopt their own standard, he would support the minimum standard that would not jeopardize federal funding, in the unincorporated areas. He expressed concern with saying that if a business deals mainly with tourists then they would be allowed to have signs while a business dealing mainly with locals would not be allowed the same signing. SENATOR FRANK explained that some are compelled by the notion that visitors could not find their way without signing; whereas locals know where things are located. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR informed the committee that a group in Wrangell purchased green highway signs, built to specs by the Department of Transportation (DOT). DOT has not allowed them to put up these signs on the highway. They are informative signs noting the direction to the restroom, the campground, etcetera. He did not understand that situation. SENATOR FRANK reiterated his desire to present something that would work. He felt that they had broad bipartisan support for SB 157. He indicated that they try to be sensitive to highway dependent businesses while not promoting a proliferation of billboards. SENATOR TAYLOR held SB 157. JIM FREY stated that he did auto repair work at a gas station on Tok Highway. He expressed concern with SB 157. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR pointed out that the committee is trying to open up SB 157. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR said that the committee would work with Senator Frank to come up with a CS and some amendments. SB 157 will be rescheduled as soon as possible.