(1) "Advertising device" means any outdoor sign, display, device, figure painting, drawing, message, placard, poster, billboard, structure, or any other contrivance designed, intended, or used to advertise or to give information in the nature of advertising and having the capacity of being visible from the main traveled way of any interstate or federal-aid primary highway. This includes any device located outside or on the outside of any building which identifies or advertises any business, enterprise, organization or project, product or service, including all parts such as frames and supporting structures located on any premises by means of painting on or attached bills, letters, numerals, pictorial matter or electric or other devices including any airborne device tethered to any building, structure, vehicle or other anchor and an announcement, notice, directional matter, name, declaration, demonstration, display, mural or insignia, (monuments, gravestones and dedication markers are not considered advertising devices). Advertising device is synonymous with sign.
(2) "Commercial variable message signs (CVMS)" means signs other than electronic billboards which contain, include, or are illuminated by any flashing, intermittent, or moving light or lights, producing the illusion of movement by means of electrical or electro-mechanical input and/or the characteristics of one or more of the following classifications:
(a) flashing signs are animated signs or animated portions of signs whose illumination is characterized by a repetitive cycle in which the period of illumination is either the same as, more than, or less than the period of no illumination;
(b) patterned illusionary movement signs are animated signs or animated portions of signs whose illumination is characterized by simulated movement through alternate or sequential activation of various illuminated elements for the purpose of producing repetitive light patterns designed to appear in some form of constant motion;
(c) environmentally activated signs are animated signs or devices motivated by wind, thermal changes, or other natural environmental input, including spinners, pinwheels, pennant strings, reflective disks, rotating slats, glow cubes, and/or other devices or displays that respond to naturally occurring external motivation to include light-sensitive devices;
(d) mechanically activated signs are animated signs characterized by repetitive motion and/or rotation activated by a mechanical system powered by electric motors or other mechanically induced means.
(3) "Commercial or industrial activity" means an activity which is permitted only in a commercial or industrial zone or a less restrictive zone by the nearest zoning authority within the state, except that none of the following is a commercial or industrial activity:
(a) any erection or maintenance of an outdoor advertising structure;
(b) any agricultural, forestry, ranching, grazing, farming or related activity, or operation of a wayside stand for sale of fresh fruit, their products, or produce;
(c) any activity normally and regularly in operation less than three months of the year;
(d) any transit or temporary activity;
(e) any activity not visible from the traffic lanes of the main traveled way;
(f) any activity more than 660 feet from the nearest edge of the right-of-way;
(g) any activity conducted in a building principally used as a residence;
(h) any operation of railroad tracks, a minor siding or a passenger depot;
(i) any activity that has been in business less than one year.
(4) "Conforming sign" means one which was lawfully erected and which complies with spacing, zoning, size, lighting and all other requirements under the Outdoor Advertising Act and the outdoor advertising regulations.
(5) "Electronic billboard (EBB)" means electronic signs on which messages may be changed on-site or remotely through hard wire or wireless communications and which have the capability to present any amount of text or symbolic imagery. The term includes, but is not limited to, "digital" signs, and "light emitting diode (LED)" signs. The term does not include commercial variable message signs.
(6) "Federal/state agreement" means the agreement entered into January 27, 1972, by and between the United States of America, represented by the Secretary of Transportation and the state of Montana, through the Department of Transportation to promote the reasonable, orderly, and effective display of outdoor advertising while remaining consistent with the national policy to protect the public investment in interstate and primary highways, to promote the safety and recreational value of public travel and to preserve the natural beauty. At a minimum the state of Montana shall implement and carry out the provisions of 23 USC 131, and the national policy in order to remain eligible to receive the full amount of all federal-aid highway funds apportioned under 23 USC 104.
(7) "Main traveled way" means the interstate and federal-aid primary highway system on which through traffic is carried.
(8) "Noncommercial sign" means a sign that does not display a commercial message. For the purpose of this rule, only "public service" signs such as DARE, or ABATE, are considered noncommercial signs. The Montana Department of Transportation shall make the determination of a noncommercial sign designation on a case-by-case basis.
(9) "Nonconforming sign" means one which was lawfully erected but which does not comply with the provisions of state law or state regulations passed at a later date, or which fails to comply with state law or state regulations due to changed conditions. Illegally erected or maintained signs are not nonconforming signs.
(10) "Official signs and notices" means signs and notices erected and maintained by public officers or public agencies within their territorial or zoning jurisdiction and pursuant to and in accordance with direction or authorization contained in federal, state, or local law for the purposes of carrying out an official duty or responsibility. Historical markers, welcome to, public utility signs authorized by state law and erected by state or local government agencies may be considered official signs.
(11) "Off-premise signs" means all signs which are not on-premise signs as defined in (11).
(12) "On-premise sign" means signs erected on property for the sole purpose of advertising its sale or lease or of advertising an activity conducted on the property. Physical facts rather than property lines determine the premises on which an activity is conducted to qualify as an on-premise sign. The sign must be located on the same premises as the activity or property advertised. Premises include the area occupied by the buildings and appurtenances such as parking lots, storage areas, processing areas or areas for the physical uses that are customarily incidental to the activity, including open spaces arranged and designed to be used in connection with the buildings or activities, but does not include vacant land, land used for unrelated activities, or land that is separated by other ownerships or roadways. The purpose of the advertising sign must be the identification of the establishment or activity located on the premises or its products or services, or the sale or lease of the property on which the sign is located. If the activity is over 660 feet from the nearest point of the highway and is accessed by an approach and road from the highway, any sign, landscaped area or other appurtenance associated with the activity that is adjacent to the approach and access road shall not be used to qualify off-premise signs.
(13) "Sign face" means that portion of the sign structure visible from a single direction of travel and available for advertising. It includes border and trim, but excludes the base or apron, supports, and other structural members. The total area of all sign faces may also be referred to as the "sign area."
(14) "Sign structure" means an advertising device including the sign face, base or apron, supports, and other structural members.