|These signs on Leesburg Pike in Seven Corners advertise a business on Little River Pike in Annandale.|
Fairfax County and the Virginia Department of Transportation are negotiating how to implement a state law that took effect July 1 requiring the county to enforce an existing ban on signs in VDOT rights of way.
The “cash for gold,” furniture wholesale, massage, and similar signs seen throughout Annandale would be affected, as well as political signs. At the urging of real estate lobbyists, the state legislature approved an amendment allowing an exception for signs advertising special events, such as open houses, posted on weekends, but those signs must be removed on Mondays.
The law, introduced by Rep. David Albo (R-42nd District), allows local governments to act as agents of the state commissioner of highways to remove signs and collect fines from violators.
John Nolan, a spokesperson for Supervisor Pat Herrity (Springfield), says he expects the county and VDOT will reach an agreement in September. Nolan says the new law fixes a loophole that prohibited the county from taking down political signs.
According to Fairfax County spokesperson Brian Worthy, the agreement with VDOT is expected to address such issues as who will be responsible for collecting illegal signs and who will pay for enforcement. State law calls for the fines to go the state, not the county. It’s not clear whether the agreement will address signs for things like youth sports leagues and community events.
State law bans commercial signs on utility poles and trees, as well as in median strips and state-owned land along highways. Signs are allowed on private property with the permission of the owner, but Article 12 of the Fairfax County zoning ordinance set limits on the size and duration of those signs.