HIGHWAY REGULATION, PROTECTION AND CONTROL REGULATIONS
As used in this subdivision:
I. The words "advertising device" shall include any billboard, outdoor sign, notice, poster, display figure, painting, message, placard or any other device which is designated or intended to attract or which does attract the attention of operators of motor vehicles on the interstate system, federal aid primary system, and turnpike system and shall include a structure erected or used in connection with the display of any such device and all lighting or other attachments used in conjunction therewith.
II. The words "on-premise signs" shall mean advertising devices which are to be erected and maintained on property for the following purposes:
(a) To set forth the name and address of the owner, lessee, or occupant of such property;
(b) To list information required by law to be posted or displayed thereon;
(c) To set forth the name of the business or profession conducted on such property, or to identify the goods or services produced or sold on such property;
(d) To indicate the sale or leasing of the real property upon which they are placed.
III. The words "directional and informational signs" shall mean directional and informational signs in the specific interest of the traveling public, or other official signs and signals erected or maintained by state or other public agencies having jurisdiction, provided the erection of such signs is not inconsistent with the standards to be promulgated by the United States Secretary of Transportation under section 131(f) of the Federal Highway Beautification Act of 1965, or provided they are business directional signs established as official signs to provide directional information for eligible motorist-oriented privately owned businesses. For the purposes hereof, informational signs are deemed to be in the specific interest of the traveling public only if they contain information about public places operated by federal, state or local governments, natural phenomena, historic sites, areas of natural scenic beauty or naturally suited for outdoor recreation, and places for camping. The commissioner of transportation is vested with authority to determine whether informational signs are in the specific interest of the traveling public.
IV. The words "interstate system" shall mean all highways which are a part of the national system of interstate and defense highways described in subsection (e) of section 103 of Title 23, United States Code, and such highways as may be so reclassified from time to time as provided in subsection (f) of section 103 of Title 23, United States Code.
V. The words "federal aid primary system" shall mean all highways which are a part of the federal aid system described in subsection (b) of section 103 of Title 23, United States Code, and such highways as may be so reclassified from time to time as provided by subsection (f) of section 103 of Title 23, United States Code that were in existence on June 1, 1991, and any highway which was not on the system but was included in the National Highway System as defined in section 1046(c) of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991.
VI. "Commercial or industrial activities" shall mean those activities generally recognized as business, industrial or commercial by zoning authorities in this state, except that none of the following activities shall be considered commercial or industrial:
(a) Outdoor advertising structures;
(b) Agricultural, forestry, grazing, farming and related activities, including but not limited to wayside fresh produce stands;
(c) Transient or temporary activities;
(d) Activities conducted in a building used principally as residence;
(e) Railroad tracks and minor sidings; and
(f) Activities which are not visible from the main traveled way.
VII. The words "zoned commercial or industrial areas" shall mean those areas zoned for business, industrial or commercial use pursuant to a municipal zoning ordinance, regulation or bylaw.
VIII. The words "unzoned commercial or industrial area" shall mean any area not zoned by any municipality in which, if an advertising device is or might be located therein, such device is or would be so located that there are at any time 2 or more separate businesses, industrial or commercial activities of a permanent nature conducted no greater than 1,000 feet apart; such 1,000 feet being measured between points on the outer edge of the regularly used buildings, parking lots, or storage or parking areas, provided, however, that no such advertising device may be located more than 500 feet from the nearest such business, industrial or commercial activity measuring from the point on the outer edge of the regularly used buildings, parking lots, storage or processing areas of such activity nearest to such device.
IX. The word "erect" shall mean to construct, build, raise, assemble, place, affix, attach, create, paint, draw, or in any other way bring into being or establish; but it shall not include any of the foregoing activities when performed as an incident to a change of advertising message or customary maintenance or replacement of the sign structure.
X. The word "maintain" shall mean to allow to exist.
XI. The words "federal highway adjacent area" shall mean an area which is adjacent to and within 660 feet of the nearest edge of the right-of-way of any interstate or federal aid primary highway, which 660 foot distance shall be measured horizontally along a line normal or perpendicular to the center line of the highway, or which is visible from the main traveled way.
XII. The words "political sign" shall mean an advertising device intended to promote the candidacy or election of any public official which device is basically impermanent in nature.
XIII. The words "turnpike system" shall mean any portion of the Spaulding turnpike or the F. E. Everett turnpike, as established by RSA 237, which are not defined as an interstate system or a federal aid primary system in paragraphs IV and V of this section, or any other turnpike which may be constructed or established in this state.
XIV. The words "turnpike adjacent area" shall mean an area which is adjacent to and within 660 feet of the nearest edge of the right-of-way of any turnpike system, as defined in paragraph XIII of this section, which 660 foot distance shall be measured horizontally along a line normal or perpendicular to the center line of the highway, or which is visible from the main traveled way.
XV. The words "primary or secondary highways and roads of and within the state" shall mean all highways and roads within the state whether they be highways which are considered as being within the interstate system, the federal aid primary system or roads or highways within the federal highway adjacent area turnpike system or turnpike adjacent area.
XVI. "Federal aid secondary system" means all highways which are a part of the federal aid system described in subsection (c) of section 103 of Title 23, United States Code, and such highways as may be so reclassified from time to time as provided in subsection (f) of section 103 of Title 23, United States Code.
XVII. "Urban area" means an area with a population of 5,000 or more persons as delineated on the urban area boundary maps on file with the department of transportation and as established by the commissioner of the department of transportation and responsible local officials of the state of New Hampshire, and which have been approved by the secretary of the United States department of transportation or his designee.
XVIII. The words "nonconforming sign" shall mean any advertising device which was lawful when erected and which complies with all sections of this subdivision except RSA 236:73 or 74.
XIX. The words "farm sign" shall mean an advertising device displaying information relating to the promotion, production or selling of New Hampshire grown or locally processed agricultural products, which is further differentiated from other advertising devices displaying similar information by additional restriction in size, and lesser restrictions in location and spacing.
XX. The words "recreational and cultural interest area sign" shall mean a sign that meets the physical standards set by the federal government in the "Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices" (MUTCD), which shall be used as destination, directional, informational, or supplemental guide signs. Recreational and cultural interest area signs shall be available to alpine and nordic ski areas that are recognized by the state in state-sponsored publications and shall be used on the primary or secondary highways and roads of and within the state. Recreational and cultural interest area signs shall be designed to direct the traveling public to the recreational facility. The ski area listed on the sign shall pay for all costs associated with signs approved under this section.
Source. RSA 249-A:2. 1961, 269:1. 1969, 429:1. 1971, 245:1. 1973, 360:2. 1975, 21:1. 1977, 87:1. 1979, 242:2. 1981, 87:1; 476:2. 1985, 402:6, I(a)(7), (b)(7). 1987, 209:3-5. 1999, 288:3. 2003, 67:2, eff. July 26, 2003.