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Right of Way

Right of Way / Programs and Services / Vegetation Management

Vegetation Management at Outdoor Advertising Signs

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As authorized by Section 479.106, Florida Statutes,  the Florida Department of Transportation has developed Vegetation Management rules to improve the appearance of Florida's highways, create a net increase in the vegetative habitat along the roads, and to assure the future visibility of permitted sign facings (billboards). Florida Administrative Code Rule 14-10.057, describes all of the requirements necessary to be issued a permit for Vegetation Management at Outdoor Advertising Sign. View Zone Diagrams, Figure 2 and Figure 3 define the Vegetation Management Zones. Mitigation requirements for cutting and removal of vegetation are calculated as outlined in the document Determining the Mitigation Value of Roadside Vegetation

The Application for Vegetation Management At Outdoor Advertising Signs (Form Number 650-050-06) can also be accessed online.

Beautification Projects shall not be located in an area that will screen from view legally erected and permitted outdoor advertising signs which have been permitted prior to the date of the beautification project.  Section 479.106(6), Florida Statutes

Florida Administrative Code Rule 14-40.003(2)(g) "Screen" or "Screening" means the planting or installation of any vegetation or other landscape material which will reach a height greater than the height of the bottom of the lowest sign face, as viewed from a height of 3.5 feet above the roadway surface at the edge of the travel lane closest to the outdoor advertising sign.

Florida Administrative Code Rule 14-40.003(3)(b) No planting or installation of vegetation or other landscape material for landscape projects, or issuance of permits for such planting or installation, including construction and beautification projects, is allowed on Department right of way which screens or which, when mature, will screen an outdoor advertising sign permitted under Chapter 479, Florida Statutes.  This prohibition applies to outdoor advertising signs exempt from Department permitting requirements that are on the state highway system and located within incorporated municipalities.  This prohibition applies to all landscape, construction, and beautification projects on Department right of way regardless of the source of funds for the project, except for landscape projects approved by the Department prior to the date of the original, state sign permit for the sign. For purposes of this Rule, a landscape, construction, or beautification project is approved when it is specifically identified in the Department's five year work program, is a permitted landscape project, is part of an executed agreement between the Department and a local government, or has been approved in writing by the Department for installation at a later date by a local government.

  • Screening is prohibited within a view zone.
  • When a landscape project is proposed within 1,000 feet approaching a permitted outdoor advertising sign which does not have an approved view zone agreement or an approved application for vegetation management, the landscape architect of record will notify the sign permittee at the address provided in accordance with subsection 14-40.003(3)(b)2 , Florida Administrative Code., that the permittee has 30 days to submit an Application to Permit Vegetation management at Outdoor Advertising Sign that proposes the specific location of a view zone.  If an Application has not been submitted by the sign permittee within 30 days of notification, screening will be prohibited as described in paragraph 479.106(6)(b) , Florida Statutes.  Contact information for any sign permitted by FDOT and other useful information may be obtained at http://www2.dot.state.fl.us/RightofWay/ or by contacting Outdoor Advertising Control, Florida Department of Transportation, 605 Suwannee Street, MS 22, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0450.
  • The limits of the screening prohibition may be adjusted pursuant to a written agreement between the sign permittee and a local governmental entity.
When billboard view zones are within the limits of a highway landscape project, the landscape architect is responsible for documenting the location of the billboards and their respective view zones.  Landscape plans, including maintenance plans submitted for review and approval by the department must represent a proposed landscape that will not screen any legally permitted sign face. The screening prohibition applies to:
  • LEGALLY PERMITTED OUTDOOR ADVERTISING SIGNS (BILLBOARD SIGN FACES).  The screening prohibition does not apply to exempt signage, or signage not under the jurisdiction of Chapter 479.07(1) , Florida Statutes.
  • THE VIEW ZONE FROM THE PRIMARY TRAVEL LANES OF THE HIGHWAY THE SIGN IS PERMITTED TO WILL NOT BE SCREENED.
  • THE VIEW ZONE.  The View Zone is established by an agreement with the Florida Dept. of Transportation, which can be a vegetation management permit.  The view zone is 350 feet for posted speed limits of 35 miles per hour or less.   The view zone is 500 feet for posted speed limits of over 35 miles per hour.  The established view zone is within the first 1,000 feet measured along the edge of the pavement in the direction of approaching traffic from a point on the edge of the pavement perpendicular to the edge of the sign facing nearest the highway and shall be continuous unless interrupted by existing, naturally occurring vegetation.   In the absence of such agreement, the established view zone shall be measured from the sign along the edge of the pavement in the direction of approaching traffic as provided in this subsection.
  • See View Zone figure for clarification.  For some signs, viewed across the median (left read), part of the view zone may be within the highway median.
  • THE SIGN FACE.  Sign structural supports may be screened.
When a Permit has not been issued by the FDOT for a legally permitted sign within the limits of the highway landscape project, the landscape architect must contact the sign permittee (company holding the sign permit).  This step is intended to maximize visibility of sign faces, and maximize opportunities for highway beautification.  The example notification letter may be useful.

Applications and questions about the vegetation management program or policies and procedures may be directed to Morris Pigott at morris.pigott@dot.state.fl.us, (850) 414-4574.


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