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Legislative Updates

Scenic Utah – Senate Bill 61

February 1, 2021

Scenic Utah (https://scenicutah.org/) needs your help in alerting your elected officials to the risk SB 61 poses to your municipality.

You are likely already familiar Senate Bill 61, given your status as a planner or otherwise involved or having an interest in local government. below is a representative email that has been sent to most mayors and city council members (but not county commissions) over the past month, but we know that some local elected officials have either not taken this matter seriously or their sense of urgency has diminished.

 

Their continued involvement, to communicate — more than once — with their state legislators is vital. Complaining to the League of Cities & Towns and the Utah Association of Counties is not sufficient, as both organizations are dealing with dozens of preemption bills. They want your help, too.

 

SB 61 will move fast through the legislative process. A phone call to a legislator two or three weeks ago will have lost some or all of its impact. It is vitally important that you encourage your elected officials talk to them again, now, this week.

 

Discussing SB 61 with your elected officials will have an impact, as they trust your expertise and focus on the best interests of your city or county,

 

Thanks much for your interest and help.  Feel to contact us with any questions or comments.

 

 

Tom Stephens

 

385-695-9876

 

Representative email sent to cities and towns:

 

Scenic Utah (https://scenicutah.org/) wants to alert you to SB0061, Billboard Amendments, recently filed for the 2021 state legislative session by Senator Scott Sandall, who represents parts of Tooele, Cache and Box Elder counties ​.

 

This bill will make it illegal for Farr West – and all other cities, towns and counties in Utah – to either regulate or prohibit placing and / or retrofitting existing billboards to digital / electronic. It also will make it illegal or very difficult to regulate the lighting intensity of a digital sign or impose a curfew on the time period a digital billboard can be illuminated. It will make unenforceable and irrelevant all of Farr West’s standards and restrictions that apply to digital billboards.

 

Here is the full text of the bill.  A synopsis is copied below.  In the interest of brevity, only the most important bill language is highlighted. It includes (though not shown in the synopsis) provisions that restrict or entirely prevent a city or county from regulating intensity of the digital illumination, including preventing any curfew as to when the digital billboard can operate, other than between midnight and 6 am.

 

Even if you feel digital billboards have a place in Farr West,  SB0061 is still defective, as it will prevent Farr West from putting in place any standards relative to digital billboards.

 

This bill will pass in the absence of local municipalities and counties expressing their strong concern about it.  As is commonly known, the billboard lobby here in Utah has a long history of legislative success in preventing local governments from regulating billboards.

 

We are encouraging cities and towns across Utah to oppose this bill, and to contact their state representatives, as well as the Utah League of Cities and Towns to oppose this legislation.

 

Most importantly, we urge you to contact your legislative representatives: 

 

 

And the following: 

 

Senate Business & Labor Standing Committee

  • Curtis Bramble, curt@cbramble.com, 801-361-5802                       District 16 Utah, Wasatch
  • Gene Davis, gdavis@le.utah.gov, 801-647-8924                            District 3, Salt Lake County
  • Dan Ipson, dipson@le.utah.gov,  435-817-5281                             District 29, Washington County
  • Karen Mayne, kmayne@le.utah.gov, 801-232-6648                      District 5, Salt Lake County
  • Jerry Stevenson, jwstevenson@le.utah.gov, 801-678-3147          District 21, Davis County
  • Todd Weiler, tweiler@le.utah.gov, 801-599-9823                          District 23, Davis, Salt Lake Counties
  • Scott Sandall, ssandall@le.utah.gov, 435-279-7551                       District 17, Box Elder, Cache, Tooele Counties
  • Dan McCay, dmccay@le.utah.gov, 801-810-4110                          District 11, Salt Lake, Utah Counties

 

In addition, contact the following senate leadership:

We would appreciate your thoughts and feedback on this issue, and would welcome a chance to discuss it directly.

 

Best regards,

 

Tom Stephens

Scenic Utah

 

385-695-9876

 

1. (2021) UT S 61 SESSION ADJOURNMENT
March 5, 2021
64 Days Remaining

 

1st Committee 1st Chamber 2nd Committee 2nd Chamber Executive

 

Author: Scott Sandall (R-001)
Title: LONG TITLE General Description: This bill amends provisions related to billboard and other signage and electronic or mechanical changeable message signs.
Prefiled: 12/30/2020
Disposition: Pending
Version: Prefiled
Location: SENATE
Summary: Amends provisions related to billboard and other signage and electronic or mechanical changeable message signs.
Status:
12/30/2020 PREFILED.
Text Hits: (b) the termination of all nonconforming uses, except billboards, by providing a formula establishing a reasonable time period during which the owner can recover or amortize the amount of his investment in the nonconforming use, if any; and (c) (i) Notwithstanding a prohibition in the municipality’s zoning ordinance, a municipality may permit a billboard owner to relocate the billboard within the municipality’s boundaries to a location that is mutually acceptable to the municipality and the billboard owner. (ii) If the municipality and billboard owner cannot agree to a mutually acceptable location within 180 days after the day on which the owner submits a written request to relocate the billboard, the billboard owner may relocate the billboard in accordance with Subsection 10-9a-513(2). (d) (i) Except as provided in Subsection (3)(e), a municipality may not enact or enforce an ordinance that prevents an owner of an existing nonconforming or conforming billboard from upgrading that billboard to an electronic or mechanical changeable message sign that operates in conformance with Title 72, Chapter 7, Part 5, Utah Outdoor Advertising Act. (ii) A municipality may not enact or enforce an ordinance that forces an owner of an existing nonconforming or conforming billboard to forfeit any other billboard owned by the owner in order to upgrade the existing nonconforming or conforming billboard to an electronic or mechanical changeable message sign that conforms with Title 72, Chapter 7, Part 5, Utah Outdoor Advertising Act. (g) A municipality shall pay a billboard owner’s attorney fees incurred if a billboard owner successfully challenges the owner’s rights under this section to upgrade a billboard to an electronic or mechanical changeable message sign. (b) the termination of all nonconforming uses, except billboards, by providing a formula establishing a reasonable time period during which the owner can recover or amortize the amount of his investment in the nonconforming use, if any; and (c) (i) Notwithstanding a prohibition in the county’s zoning ordinance, a county may permit a billboard owner to relocate the billboard within the county’s unincorporated area to a location that is mutually acceptable to the county and the billboard owner. (ii) If the county and billboard owner cannot agree to a mutually acceptable location within 180 days after the day on which the owner submits a written request to relocate the billboard, the billboard owner may relocate the billboard in accordance with Subsection 17-27a-512(2). (d) (i) Except as provided in Subsection (3)(e), a county may not enact or enforce an ordinance that prevents an owner of an existing nonconforming or conforming billboard from upgrading that billboard to an electronic or mechanical changeable message sign that operates in conformance with Title 72, Chapter 7, Part 5, Utah Outdoor Advertising Act. (ii) A county may not enact or enforce an ordinance that requires an owner of an existing nonconforming or conforming billboard to forfeit any other billboard owned by the owner in order to upgrade the existing nonconforming or conforming billboard to an electronic or mechanical changeable message sign that conforms with Title 72, Chapter 7, Part 5, Utah Outdoor Advertising Act. (g) A county shall pay a billboard owner’s attorney fees incurred if a billboard owner successfully challenges the owner’s rights under this section to upgrade a billboard to an electronic or mechanical changeable message sign. 72-7-505. Sign size — Sign spacing — Location in outdoor advertising corridor — Limit on implementation. (2) (a) An outdoor sign structure located inside the unincorporated area of a nonurbanized county may have the maximum height allowed by the county for outdoor advertising structures in the commercial or industrial zone in which the sign is located. If no maximum height is provided for the location, the maximum sign height may be 65 feet above the ground or 25 feet above the grade of the main traveled way, whichever is greater. (b) An outdoor sign structure located inside an incorporated municipality or urbanized county may have the maximum height allowed by the municipality or urbanized county for outdoor advertising structures in the commercial or industrial zone in which the sign is located. If no maximum height is provided for the location, the maximum sign height may be 65 feet above the ground or 25 feet above the grade of the main traveled way, whichever is greater. (a) Any sign allowed to be erected by reason of the exceptions set forth in Subsection 72-7-504(2) or in H-1 zones may not be closer than 500 feet to an existing off-premise sign adjacent to an interstate highway or limited access primary highway, except that signs may be erected closer than 500 feet if the signs on the same side of the interstate highway or limited access primary highway are not simultaneously visible. (A) the sign is replacing an existing outdoor advertising use or structure which is being removed or displaced to accommodate the widening, construction, or reconstruction of an interstate, federal aid primary highway existing as of June 1, 1991, or national highway system highway; and (e) All outdoor advertising shall be erected and maintained within the outdoor advertising corridor. (a) the Utah-Federal Agreement for carrying out national policy relative to control of outdoor advertising in areas adjacent to the national system of interstate and defense highways and the federal-aid primary system is modified to allow the sign placement specified in Subsection (3)(c)(ii); and

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