Montana Administrative Register Notice 18-130 No. 2   01/26/2012    
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In the matter of the adoption of New Rule I and amendment of ARM 18.6.202, 18.6.203, 18.6.204, 18.6.205, 18.6.211, 18.6.213, 18.6.215, 18.6.221, 18.6.231, 18.6.240, 18.6.241, 18.6.244, 18.6.245, 18.6.246, 18.6.247, 18.6.251, and 18.6.262 pertaining to Outdoor Advertising











TO:  All Concerned Persons


1.  On November 25, 2011, the Department of Transportation published MAR Notice No. 18-130 pertaining to the proposed adoption and amendment of the above-stated rules at page 2470 of the 2011 Montana Administrative Register, Issue Number 22.


2.  The department has amended the above-stated rules as proposed.


3.  The department has adopted the above-stated rule as proposed: New Rule I (18.6.206).


4.  The department has thoroughly considered the comments received.  A summary of the comments received and the department's responses are as follows:


COMMENT #1:  The department received one comment stating the proposed amendment which would prohibit signs within 500 feet (rural area) or 140 feet (cities or towns) of an intersecting roadway, junction, property driveway or connecting roadway with approaching or merging traffic is going to be difficult to comply with, especially combined with existing rules.  The comment stated signs that are a clear hazard to travel should be moved, but the department should not use a one-size-fits-all approach.  The comment stated the proposed amendment would reduce advertising opportunities for small businesses.


RESPONSE #1:  The department notes that current administrative rule language already prohibits signs within 500 feet (rural areas) and 140 feet (cities and towns) of an intersection.  This restriction has been in place for several years, and was originally implemented to improve traffic safety, as signs placed too close to intersections reduce sight distance for drivers in merging or making turns.  The proposed amendment, therefore, is not adding an additional prohibition on sign placement, but instead is clarifying that the distance restriction also applies to junctions, driveways, and any connecting roadway.  The clarification is being added for the identical safety reasons, to ensure proper sight distances for drivers.


COMMENT #2:  The department received one comment stating the proposed amendment to ARM 18.6.221 which would cut compliance time for erection of new signs from six months to 90 days will not allow for planting a new post, or replacing a new sign in the Big Hole in December, January, February, March and sometimes June.


RESPONSE #2:  The department notes the proposed amendment will standardize the response times throughout the rules to 90 days for most activities required of outdoor advertising permit holders.  The rules had previously contained varying response times for various required activities, thus creating confusion over the correct time frame.  The department's proposed amendment will require a 90-day response time to all department directives, or activities required by permit holders for ease of use by the public.  The department further notes that existing rule language at ARM 18.6.221(2) already allows for a permit holder to request an extension of the time limit for new sign erection when construction has been delayed through no fault of the permit holder, such as due to weather.  This written extension procedure will remain in place.



/s/  Carol Grell Morris                                   /s/  Kevin Howlett                

Carol Grell Morris                                         Kevin Howlett

Rule Reviewer                                             Chair

                                                                        Transportation Commission



Certified to the Secretary of State January 17, 2012.



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