Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/02/1994 01:40 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 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           
 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                      
 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             
 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.                                              

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