History of Outdoor Advertising Statutes
First outdoor advertising statute passed
by Territorial Legislature. Defines outdoor advertising; exempts
political advertising from ban. "The term "outdoor
advertising" as used in this Act, shall include all commercial
advertising so displayed as to attract the attention of persons
on any public highway or while in a vehicle of a common carrier,
or in any station, public building, park or other public place,
whether such advertising be by means of printing, writing,
painting, pictures, or a combination thereof, and whatever
be the means of display, except that it shall not include advertising
located within incorporated towns nor upon private property
in rural areas and relating exclusively to the business conducted
on such property or the sale or rental thereof, or directional
signs on the public domain pertaining to and within 2500 feet
of such rural business."
Territorial Legislature amends outdoor advertising
statute by removing political advertising exemption and establishes
sign program for rural businesses. Outdoor advertising statute
purpose revised to read, "After due investigation and
deliberation it is the purpose of the Legislature to protect
the public safety and welfare of persons using the highways
of Alaska by causing the removal of outdoor advertising along
said highways, thereby eliminating a source of distraction
to vehicle operators and persons on said highways."
Congress passes Highway Beautification Act
Alaska signs Lady Bird Johnson Agreement on March 29, 1968.
Legislature substantially expands and strengthens
outdoor advertising statutes, largely in response to Highway
Beautification Act. AS 19.25.080 purpose revised to include:
(1) protection of public safety and welfare; (2) prevent distractions
and protect scenic beauty and attract tourists; (3) regulate
outdoor advertising in areas adjacent to the right-of-way;
to provide that nonconforming signs are a public nuisance;
and to bring state into compliance with outdoor advertising
in 23 U.S.C. Definition of "outdoor advertising" now "includes
any outdoor sign, display or device used to advertise, attract
attention or inform and which is visible to a person on the
main-traveled way of a highway of the interstate or primary
systems in this state, whether by printing, writing, painting,
picture, light, drawing, or whether by the use of figures or
objects, or a combination of these, or any other thing designed,
intended or used to advertise, inform or attract attention."
Legislature adds AS 19.25.105 "LIMITATIONS
OF OUTDOOR ADVERTISING SIGNS, DISPLAYS AND DEVICES. (a) No
outdoor advertising shall be erected or maintained within 660
feet of the nearest edge of the right-of-way and visible from
the main-traveled way of the interstate, primary, or secondary
highways in this state except the following: (1) directional
and other official signs and notices which include, but are
not limited to, signs and notices pertaining to natural wonders,
scenic and historic attractions, which are required or authorized
by law, and which shall conform to federal standards for interstate
and primary systems. (2) signs, displays and devices advertising
the sale or lease of property upon which they are located or
advertising activities conducted on the property.
(b) This section is subject to AS 07.15.340 as it
applies to secondary highways."
Legislature adds AS 19.25.200 – 19.25.250, on
encroachments. Allows encroachment permits to be issued; allows department
to change, relocate or remove encroachments (or require owner of encroachment
to do same); allows department to remove encroachments after owner does
not comply with our demand to remove, making owner responsible for costs.
Legislature expands AS 19.25.105 to add:
"(a)(3) signs determined by the state, subject to concurrence of the United
States Department of Transportation, to be landmark signs, including signs on
farm structures, or natural surfaces, of historic or artistic significance, the
preservation of which would be consistent with the provisions of this chapter.
(c) No outdoor advertising may be erected or maintained
beyond 660 feet of the nearest edge of the right-of-way of the main
traveled way of the interstate, primary or secondary highways in this
state with the purpose of their message being read from that travel
way except those outdoor advertising signs, displays or devices allowed
under (a) of this section."
AS 19.25.105 amended again, to add a fourth exemption:
"(a)(4) directional signs and notices pertaining to schools."
AS 19.25.200 amended to allow Department to charge
fees for encroachment permits. Also adds AS 19.25.200(b) "The provisions
under (a) of this section do not apply to a mailbox or a newspaper box
attached to a mailbox." These changes resulted from two separate
AS 19.25.105 again amended to add another exemption: "(a)(5) advertising
on bus benches or bus shelters if the state determines that the advertising conforms
to local, state, and federal standards for interstate and primary highway systems."
AS 19.25.105 again amended, to add:
"(d) Outdoor advertising may not be erected or maintained within the right-of-way
of an interstate, primary, or secondary highway except that outdoor advertising
is allowed on bus benches and bus shelters located within the right-of-way under
the authority of a permit issued under AS 19.25.200, if the bus benches or bus
shelters are located within a borough or unified municipality and the buses that
stop at that location operate during the entire year."
HCR34 Relating to tourist-oriented directional signs
is introduced. Resolution urges DOT/PF to implement a TODS program as
soon as it is approved by FHWA.
Legislature passes HCR34.
Department issues policy for Experimental Tourist
Oriented Directional Signing, including:
Experimental program to be funded by businesses for approaching tourist season;
Patterned after Iowa program;
Experimental program available, "to organized groups or businesses who are
willing to undertake all administrative and organizational details, provide full
funding, and are willing to conduct a simple on-going poll of their customers
concerning the effectiveness of the trial TODS program;
Implementation funding was appropriated for the purpose of establishing final
Department revises Policy for Experimental Tourist
Oriented Directional Signing. Refines program somewhat, and extends it
Congress passes ISTEA, which includes requirements
for states to control outdoor advertising, and makes some expenses eligible
Representative Menard and Senator Frank prefile HB25 and SB 157, making the following
changes to AS 19.25:
"19.25.091. OUTDOOR ADVERTISING. Except as prohibited by 23 U.S.C. 131 and
the regulations adopted by the United States Secretary of Transportation to implement
and interpret that section, outdoor advertising is permitted outside of the right-of-way
of a state highway.
19.25.093. CONTROL OF OUTDOOR ADVERTISING. A person may
not erect or maintain outdoor advertising not permitted by AS 19.25.091."
Effort ultimately fails.
Draft RCIA policy circulates in Department.
October 1993 Department’s revised TODS policy issued; also includes Community
Representatives Menard and Olberg introduce HB367.
The bill ultimately goes through 4 committee substitutes and passes.
It makes the following changes to AS 19.25.105 (these are from the final
19.25.105(a)(2) is amended to read:
"signs, displays, and devices advertising the sale
or lease of property upon which they are located or advertising activities
conducted on the property upon which they are located;" (underlined
text is new text)
19.25.105(a)(5) is amended to read:
"advertising on bus benches or bush shelters, and
adjacent trash receptacles, if the state determines that the advertising
conforms to local, state and federal standards for interstate and primary
highways;" (underlined text is new text)
AS 19.25.105(a)(6) is added to read:
"directional signs whose size, lighting, and spacing
are approved by the United States Department of Transportation, may
be erected and maintained outside of the right-of-way adjacent to interstate
and primary highways in areas zoned industrial or commercial or in
unzoned commercial or industrial areas as may be determined by agreement
with the United States Department of Transportation; under this paragraph,
the directional signs must
(A) be for an individual business entity that is of significant
interest to the traveling public as evidenced by documentation that
at least 75 percent of the entity’s gross business receipts are
from motorists residing more than 20 miles from the business;
(B) consist of four or fewer off-premises signs for each
business, and each sign
(i) must be located on private property;
(ii) must provide directional information;
(iii) must indicate the specific business entity;
(iv) must be located within 50 miles of the physical
location of the business entity; and
(v) may not exceed 8 feet by 12 feet in size."
Bill also changes penalty for violation from a misdemeanor
to a violation, but increases the fines from the range of $50 to $1,000
to $250 to $2,500.
CSHB367(JUD) am S passes the Legislature.
Governor Hickel transmits veto letter to Speaker of
the House Ramona Barnes, for CSHB367(JUD) am S, "An Act relating
to limitations on outdoor advertising signs, displays, and devices and
penalties for violations related to outdoor advertising."
HB 287 introduced by Representative Rokeberg. Amends
AS 19.25.105 exceptions to add trash receptacles that are next to bus
benches or bus shelters and revises AS 19.25.180 to read:
"APPLICABILITY OF MUNICIPAL ENACTMENTS. Notwithstanding AS 19.25.080 – 19.25.180,
a municipality may enact ordinances that regulate outdoor advertising in a way
that is more restrictive than the provisions of AS 19.25.080 – 19.25.180."
SB181 introduced, with the following sponsors: Senator
Green, Pearce, Halford, Frank, Miller, and Sharp, and Representatives
Toohey, Ogan and James. This bill includes more or less the same provisions
that were included in HB 367. HB 287 passes.
Governor Knowles signs HB 287.
Sponsor substitute for SB181 introduced.
SB 181 passes.
Governor Knowles writes veto letter to Senate President
Pearce, vetoing CS for Sponsor Substitue for Senate Bill No. 181 (FIN), "An
Act relating to tourist oriented directional signs that are 90 inches
in width and 18 inches in height and to penalties for violations related
to outdoor advertising." Directs DOT&PF to establish a task
force (to include Division of Tourism and the visitor industry) to establish
regulations for signing.
Veto-override attempt for SB 181 fails.
Department advertises in major newspapers, requesting
public comment on the Department’s TODS policy.
November 1996 Department’s TODS Task Force established.
Senator Green introduces SB56 (with cosponsors Senators
Pearce and Mackie and Representatives Rokeberg and James). Bill amends
AS 19.25.105 to add the following:
19.25.105(a)(6) "tourist oriented directional signs erected under (e) of
19.25.105(d)(2) "tourist oriented directional signs
erected under (e) of this section."
19.25.195(e) "The department shall establish a tourist
oriented directional sign program. The department shall erect, or permit
the erection of, directional signs for traveler oriented attractions
and services within and outside of the rights-of-way of interstate,
primary, and secondary highways in areas zoned industrial or commercial
or in unzoned areas determined to be commercial or industrial areas.
The signs may be erected on private land adjacent to the rights-of-way
of interstate, primary, and secondary highways in this state if permission
for the erection of the sign is granted by the owner of the private
land. The sign, excluding posts, must be 90 inches in width and 18
inches in height and may contain only the name of the attraction or
the business providing the attraction or service, an icon representing
the attraction or service, the distance to the attraction or service,
and a directional arrow. The department may except a sign from the
width and height requirements of this subsection if the sign does not
exceed 90 inches in width or 18 inches in height and the department
finds that the exception is consistent with the purposes of this subsection.
The location of directional signs within a right-of-way and the design
and content of directional signs must be consistent with standards
approved by the Federal Highway Administration. The department shall
retain control over the location of directional signs. In scenic areas,
the department shall control the location of directional signs in a
manner that maintains the quality of scenic areas."
and changes the penalty for violation from a misdemeanor
to a violation.
Tourist & Business Oriented Sign Task Force prepares
a report for Commissioner Perkins, transmitting recommendations on ways
of addressing Alaska’s tourist and business related sign needs
while avoiding sign proliferation. Task Force recommends that the Department
develop comprehensive sign regulations to include: TODS, RCIA, Logo Signs,
General Service Signs, and Kiosks.
SB 56 passes the legislature.
Lt. Governor signs 17 AAC 60.001-995 regulations,
setting an effective date of 5/18/97.
Governor Knowles vetoes SB 56.
Legislature votes to override Governor Knowles’ veto
of SB 56.
Lt. Governor signs 17 AAC 60.930 and 950 regulations,
setting an effective date of 8/14/97.
Ballot measure 5 passes, overturning provisions of
SB 56, and further tightening AS 19.25 provisions. Intent language added
in AS 19.25.075: "FINDINGS AND INTENT OF THE PEOPLE OF ALASKA. (a)
The people of Alaska find that the presence of billboards visible from
Alaska’s highways endangers Alaska’s uniqueness and its scenic
beauty. (b) It is the intent of the people of the State of Alaska that
Alaska shall forever remain free of billboards." Also increases
penalty for violation to up to $5,000.
January 20, 2002
(Lt. Governor signs regulations on 12/21/01) 17 AAC
05.060 through 17 ACC 05.070 - Memorial Sign Program become effective.
The Memorial Sign Program provides relatives and friends of people fatally
injured in highway crashes the opportunity to memorialize them by sponsoring
the placement of a sign near the accident site; also providing a means
to combat drunk driving and increase awareness of the need to drive safely
and responsibly. This section of the regulations included application
procedures, location requirements, and the wording on the Memorial Signs.
March 01, 2002
(Lt. Governor signs regulations on 01/30/02) Encroachments,
outdoor advertising, lane closure permits, recreational and cultural
interest (RCIA) areas signs, traveler information kiosks, community services
signs, general services signs, tourist signs, and administrative review
and appeal procedures become effective:
17 AAC 05.045 adopted standards for the use of rest stops
and pull outs on the state highway system.
17 AAC 10.011 allows the issuance of encroachment permits
to government agencies for flags, decorative banners in highway rights
of way, and informational signs informing motorists that they are entering
a community. Amendments clarify the uses that are allowed in highway
rights of way under encroachment permits.
New language codified as 17 AAC 20.010 through 17 AAC
20.013 for the regulation of outdoor advertising. The regulations implement
AS 19.25.075 through AS 19.25.180.
New language codified as 17 AAC 20.017 establishes a
permitting process for lane closures on highways to accommodate construction
and maintenance activities on contiguous land.
Amendments for 17 AAC 60.205 and 17 AAC 60.210, enlarge
the categories of activities that qualify for recreational and cultural
interest area (RCIA) signs, and clarify the procedures for the issuance
of RCIA sign permits.
The department repealed regulations found in 17 AAC 60.301
through 17 60.320, which relate to community services signs.
Amendments for 17 AAC 60.401 through 17 AAC 60.420, which
relate to tourist information kiosks, allows them to address the needs
of all travelers, clarifying the conditions of use under the revised
information kiosk program and makes more specific the permitting process.
The department repealed the regulations found in 17 AAC
60.501 through 17 AAC 60.515, which related to general services signs.
Amendments to 17 AAC 60.915 incorporate by reference
materials not previously included in the regulations or to reflect
new materials published since the adoption of the regulations.
Amendments to 17 AAC 60.995 achieve consistency with
the changes proposed to the regulations found in 17 AAC 60 as discussed
Amendments to 17 AAC 85.010 through 17 AAC 85.040 make
clear the types of decisions that this appeal process applies to, streamlines
the procedures and substitutes the title of chief engineer for the
Director of Statewide Design and Engineering Services.
17 AAC 85.990 adopted definitions for the regulations
found in 17 AAC 85.010 through 17 AAC 85.040.
August 23, 2018
The American Civil Liberties Union, Alaskans for Dunleavy, and Eric Seibels filed a lawsuit regarding political campaign signs in and along the State’s right of way. See our campaign signs webpage for more information and watch for updates to the pending court case on the matter.