1. The Laws of New York
  2. Consolidated Laws
  3. Highway
  4. Article 4: No title


Section 88

Highway (HAY)

Control of outdoor advertising. 1. Definitions. As used in this section:

  (a) "Interstate highway system" means that portion of the national system of interstate and defense highways located within this state, as officially designated, or as may hereafter be so designated, by the commissioner of transportation, and approved by the secretary of commerce or the secretary of transportation of the United States pursuant to the provisions of title twenty-three of the United States code, as amended.

  (b) "Primary highway system" means that portion of connected main highways, as officially designated, or as may hereafter be so designated, by the commissioner of transportation, and approved by the secretary of commerce or the secretary of transportation of the United States pursuant to the provisions of title twenty-three of the United States code, as amended.

  (c) "Safety rest area" means an area or site established and maintained within or adjacent to the highway right of way by or under public supervision or control, for the convenience of the travelling public.

  (d) "Information center" means an area or site established and maintained at a roadside rest area for the purpose of informing the public of places of interest within the state and providing such other information as the commissioner of transportation may consider desirable.

  2. The commissioner of transportation is hereby authorized and directed to immediately implement the following program for the effective control of the erection and maintenance of outdoor advertising signs, displays and devices within six hundred sixty feet of the nearest edge of the right of way and visible from the main traveled way of the interstate and primary highway systems and, notwithstanding the provisions of subdivisions seven, eleven, and twelve of this section, for the effective control of the erection and maintenance along the interstate and primary highway systems of those additional outdoor advertising signs, displays and devices which are more than six hundred and sixty feet from the nearest edge of the right-of-way located outside of urban areas, as defined by federal statute, rule or regulation for the purposes of section one hundred thirty-one of title twenty-three of the United States code, visible from the main traveled way of the interstate and primary highway systems and erected with the purpose of their message being read from such main traveled way. Effective control means that such signs, displays and devices shall, pursuant to such program, be limited to (a) directional and other official signs and notices which are required or authorized by law and which shall conform to the national standards promulgated by the secretary of transportation of the United States pursuant to section one hundred thirty-one of title twenty-three of the United States code, as amended, (b) signs, displays and devices advertising the sale or lease of property upon which they are located, (c) signs, displays and devices advertising activities conducted on the property on which they are located, (d) signs, displays and devices located in areas within six hundred sixty feet of the nearest edge of the right of way which are zoned industrial or commercial under authority of state law and which are permitted or authorized pursuant to this section or the agreement ratified and approved by this section, (e) signs, displays and devices which are permitted or authorized pursuant to this section or the agreement ratified and approved by this section and are located in unzoned commercial or industrial areas within six hundred sixty feet of the nearest edge of the right of way which areas shall be determined from actual land uses in conformance with the agreement ratified and approved by this section, (f) signs lawfully in existence on October twenty-second, nineteen hundred sixty-five, determined by the commissioner with the approval of the secretary of transportation of the United States, to be landmark signs, including signs on farm structures or natural surfaces of historic or artistic significance, the preservation of which would be consistent with the purposes of this section and with the purposes of the federal "Highway Beautification Act of 1965", and any acts amendatory thereto, and (g) any other signs, displays and devices permitted or authorized pursuant to this section. Provided that, nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the erection or maintenance of outdoor advertising signs, displays and devices which include the steady illumination of sign faces, panels or slats that rotate or change to different messages in a fixed position, commonly known and referred to as changeable or multiple message signs, provided the change of one sign face to another is not more frequent than once every six seconds and the actual change process is accomplished in three seconds or less, when such signs, displays and devices are permitted or authorized pursuant to this section and by the agreement ratified and approved by this section.

  3. The agreement entered into between the commissioner of transportation and the secretary of transportation of the United States dated May thirteenth, nineteen hundred sixty-eight regarding the size, lighting and spacing of signs, displays and devices which may be erected and maintained within six hundred and sixty feet of the nearest edge of the right-of-way within areas adjacent to the interstate and primary highway systems which are zoned industrial or commercial under authority of state law, or in such other unzoned industrial or commercial areas as may be permitted pursuant to the terms of such agreement is hereby ratified and approved. With respect to the certification permitted under subsection A of article four of the said agreement, the commissioner of transportation shall make such a certification within thirty days after it is shown to his reasonable satisfaction that there are regulations which are enforced with respect to the size, lighting and spacing of outdoor advertising signs, displays and devices within the meaning of the agreement. The action of the commissioner of transportation with respect to such a certification shall be reviewable under article seventy-eight of the civil practice law and rules by the supreme court which shall have jurisdiction of the proceedings and the power to grant such relief as it deems just and proper.

  4. The commissioner of transportation may agree with the secretary of transportation of the United States to provide for the establishment of information centers at safety rest areas. The commissioner of transportation is hereby directed to negotiate with such secretary of transportation in order to permit signs, within the areas controlled by the provisions of this section, which relate to public and private natural wonders, scenic and historical attractions and other information concerning outdoor recreation, places for camping, lodging, eating and vehicle service and repair deemed to be of specific interest to the travelling public. Any of the above types of signs referred to in this subdivision which do not violate the provisions of the federal "Highway Beautification Act of 1965", and any acts amendatory thereto, and which conform to the national standards promulgated by the secretary of transportation of the United States pursuant to section one hundred thirty-one of title twenty-three of the United States code, as amended, are hereby authorized to be erected and maintained in the state of New York subject to registration with the commissioner of transportation pursuant to subdivision five of this section.

  5. The commissioner of transportation is hereby authorized to control the erection and maintenance of outdoor advertising signs, displays and devices along the interstate and primary highway systems in conformance with the terms of this section and in conformity with the agreement ratified and approved by this section and the national standards promulgated by the secretary of transportation of the United States pursuant to subdivision (c) of section one hundred thirty-one of title twenty-three of the United States code as amended. The commissioner of transportation may provide for a system of registration of outdoor advertising signs, displays and devices which comply with the terms of the agreement, ratified and approved by this section, with the secretary of transportation of the United States. No registration shall be required for signs, displays and devices advertising the sale or lease of property upon which they are located and signs, displays and devices advertising activities conducted on the property on which they are located.

  6. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision two hereof, any outdoor advertising sign, display or device lawfully in existence along the interstate and primary highway systems on September first, nineteen hundred sixty-five, which is not permitted or authorized pursuant to the provisions contained herein may continue to be maintained until July first, nineteen hundred seventy and shall not be replaced or relocated along the interstate and primary highway systems except in those areas authorized pursuant to this section or areas authorized under the terms of the agreement ratified and approved by this section. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision two hereof, any other outdoor advertising sign, display or device lawfully erected which is not permitted or authorized pursuant to this section of the agreement ratified and approved by this section may continue to be maintained until the end of the fifth year after it becomes nonconforming pursuant to this section or under the terms of the agreement ratified and approved by this section, unless an earlier removal is required in order for the state to comply with the federal "Highway Beautification Act of 1965", as amended and shall not be replaced or relocated along the interstate and primary highway systems except in those areas authorized pursuant to this section or areas which are permitted under the terms of the agreement ratified and approved by this section.

  7. The commissioner of transportation is hereby authorized to acquire the necessary rights in and to property and is directed to pay compensation therefor, in the same manner as other property is acquired for state highway purposes pursuant to this chapter and is further directed to provide equivalent directional information, as provided in subdivision eleven of this section, with respect to outdoor advertising signs, displays and devices which are not permitted or authorized pursuant to this section or with the terms of the agreement ratified and approved by this section and which were lawfully erected under state law. Such compensation is authorized to be paid only for the following: (a) the taking from the owner of such sign, display or device of all right, title, leasehold and interest in such sign, display or device, and (b) the taking from the owner of the real property on which such sign, display or device is located, of the right to erect and maintain such signs, displays and devices thereon. The term "property" as used in this section is defined to include lands, waters, rights in land or waters, structures, franchises, and interest in land, including lands under water and riparian rights and any and all other things and rights usually included within the said term and includes also any and all interests in such property less than full title, such as easements, permanent or temporary, rights-of-way, uses, leases, licenses and all other incorporeal hereditaments and every estate, interest or right, legal or equitable. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision two hereof, no rights in and to property shall be acquired with respect to any outdoor advertising sign, display or device except to the extent that federal funds authorized to be appropriated pursuant to the federal "Highway Beautification Act of 1965", as amended, to reimburse the state for seventy-five per centum of the cost thereof, are in fact appropriated and allocated to the state for that purpose. Further, notwithstanding the provisions of this section or any other general, special or local law, no outdoor advertising sign for which compensation must be paid pursuant to this subdivision, nor any outdoor advertising sign in a commercial or industrial zone or area which is controlled pursuant to this section, shall be removed, or required to be removed, by the state or any agency thereof or any municipal corporation or subdivision, without the payment of such compensation in accordance with the provisions of article five of the eminent domain procedure law, provided, however, that this prohibition shall not apply to any city having a population of one million or more.

  8. Any outdoor advertising sign, display or device erected or maintained in violation of this section, or of the terms of the agreement ratified and approved by this section, is hereby declared to be, and is a public nuisance. The commissioner of transportation shall give thirty days' notice, by registered or certified mail, to the owner of the property on which such advertising sign, display or device is located and to the owner of such advertising sign, display or device, to remove the same if it is a prohibited sign, display or device or to cause it to conform to the requirements of this section or the terms of the agreement ratified and approved by this section or the national standards if it is an authorized or permitted sign, display or device. If the owner of the property or the owner of the advertising sign, display or device fails to act within thirty days as required in the notice, the commissioner of transportation or his duly authorized agent shall cause the removal of such advertising sign, display or device at the expense of the owner of the property or the owner of the advertising sign, display or device, except that the state shall pay the expense of removing any advertising sign, display or device which was lawfully erected on the date of enactment of this section which becomes non-conforming under the terms of this section or the agreement ratified and approved by this section.

  9. Nothing in this section shall be construed to abrogate or affect the provisions of any other statute, lawful ordinance, regulation pursuant thereto or resolutions which are more restrictive than the provisions of this section or the agreement ratified and approved by this section.

  10. In order to provide information in the specific interest of the travelling public, the commissioner of transportation is hereby authorized to maintain maps and to permit informational directories and commercial advertising pamphlets to be made available at safety rest areas, and to construct and maintain or permit the construction and/or maintenance of information centers at safety rest areas for the purpose of informing the public of places of interest within the state and providing such other information as he may consider desirable. In the event that such an information center is to be constructed and/or maintained by a person, firm, corporation, municipality or state department or agency, other than the department of transportation, the commissioner of transportation is authorized to enter into a lease for a term of years or memorandum of understanding, on terms which he deems appropriate, regarding the construction and/or maintenance of such information center. The commissioner of transportation shall use the federal cost-sharing provisions of section 131(i) of title 23, United States Code to the fullest extent practicable in implementing such travel information programs.

  11. The commissioner is directed to conduct an economic study to identify those areas within the state which would suffer substantial economic hardship upon the removal of advertising signs, displays, or devices which provide directional information about goods and services in the interest of the travelling public, were legally erected under state law, and are subject to control under subdivision seven of this section. Pending completion of such economic study, the commissioner is directed to provide for the immediate removal of signs which were unlawfully erected under state law, and is further directed to develop an aesthetically pleasing official business directional sign program providing directional information to the travelling public in a manner substantially equivalent to that now provided by advertising signs, displays, or devices, pursuant to subdivision twelve of this section. Upon completion of such economic study and consequent identification of those areas within the state which would suffer substantial economic hardship upon the removal of advertising signs, displays, or devices which provide directional information about goods and services in the interest of the travelling public, the commissioner shall request the secretary of transportation of the United States to permit the retention of such advertising signs, displays, or devices in those areas identified as suffering substantial economic hardship. Except as otherwise provided in this section, the commissioner is hereby directed to assure that any official business sign program be implemented with due consideration of the findings of the economic study identifying areas potentially subject to substantial economic hardship.

  12. The commissioner of transportation shall develop and implement, after required federal approval, an official business directional sign program to provide directional information regarding businesses which provide goods and services to the traveling public. Fees charged to participating businesses will be such as to make the program self-sustaining within two years of implementation. The program shall utilize official signs erected in the right-of-way of the primary highway system. Such official signs shall meet the standards prescribed by the commissioner of transportation and the secretary of transportation of the United States and shall contain thereon, as a minimum, the business name or trademark, a general service logogram and directional information. The official business directional sign program shall be integrated with, but not limited by, information centers provided for in subdivision ten of this section to maximize the information made available in the specific interest of the traveling public. Guidelines for business eligibility and placement of official signs shall be promulgated by the commissioner of transportation after public hearing and federal approval. Such guidelines shall include provision for substantially equivalent directional information upon the removal of advertising signs, displays or devices providing directional information. Such guidelines shall provide that priority for participation in the program be given to those businesses offering goods and services in the interest of the traveling public (a) which are primarily local or regional in nature and which would have the least ability to adopt alternative directional information media, or (b) which utilized directional advertising signs, displays and devices legally erected under state law. The traffic generated by a specific business shall be a secondary consideration in determining priority of participation in the program. The specific implementation of such guidelines shall be made with the advice of travel information council pursuant to subdivision thirteen of this section. The commissioner shall seek to speed federal approval of the official business directional sign program.

  13. All fees collected by the commissioner pursuant to this section shall be deposited by the comptroller into the special obligation reserve and payment account of the dedicated highway and bridge trust fund established pursuant to section eighty-nine-b of the state finance law.