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Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

Outdoor Advertising Control

Legal Opinion Cover Letter - Highway Beautification Act

In Reply
Refer to: HCC-30

Mr. David L. Philips
Assistant Attorney General
State of Minnesota
445 Minnesota Street - Suite 1800
St. Paul, Minnesota 55101-2134

Dear Mr. Phillips:

Thank you for your letter of February 10. You asked if we would provide clarification over the meaning of one of the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) regulations. We have done so through the enclosed legal opinion.

Specifically, you asked us about the meaning of 23 CFR §750.708(b), particularly in light of actions by a Minnesota municipality taken to create a strip zone for outdoor advertising under its comprehensive zoning authority. We conclude that §750.708(b) clearly does not allow such zoning actions. We interpret the language of §750.708(b) as differentiating between legitimate commercial or industrial zones and limited purpose areas created primarily to allow outdoor advertising. Actions that are facially part of comprehensive zoning, but in fact are merely schemes to allow outdoor advertising in rural or residential areas, are not accepted by the FHWA as valid zoning for purposes of control of outdoor advertising.

If you have any further questions or want to discuss any points in this memorandum, please contact Robert J. Black on my staff at (202)366-1359.

D.J. Gribbin
Chief Counsel

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Updated: 9/5/2014
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