Signs in the public right of way may be in the wrong place
| Our Office has the responsibility for enforcing state law that prohibits most signs from being in the public right of way. Over the past few years these signs have proliferated, leading to visual blight, lowering the quality of life in our communities, and in some cases, creating dangers for the traveling public. Based on complaints from community associations and others, the Texas legislature provided additional authority for local agencies to enforce the law on signs in the public rights of way. Despite the illegality, for many years individuals and businesses have used the public roads to post signs to solicit business or sell products. In 2007 House Bill 413 added civil penalties and empowered the County Attorney and District Attorney to take legal action to collect those penalties. Under this law violators are subject to fines of $500 to $1,000 per day per occurrence. In addition those who run afoul of the law may be required to pay court costs and attorneys fees.
The law prohibits posting a sign on property that is part of the road right of way. This includes signs nailed to utility poles, pasted to traffic control boxes, placed in medians and islands, or attached to traffic sign poles. Typically the public right of way extends beyond the paved portion of the road and includes sidewalks. Utility poles are usually in the public right of way.
We believe that ridding our neighborhoods of visual blight helps create safe and attractive communities which promote pleasant environments and increases property values. We do this by working with community groups such as chambers of commerce, bringing media attention on the issue, educating the public, and providing training to civic organizations that ask for more enforcement.
Click here to read Chapter 393 of the Transportation Code which is the law on signs on the public right of way.