• Texas passes new height and admin rules

    By Richard Rothfelder, Rothfelder and Falick

    The Texas Transportation Commission has been holding public hearings, considering comments from stakeholders, and otherwise considering amendments to TxDOT’s administrative rules governing federally assisted highways for the last several months. The primary reason cited by TxDOT for the rules amendments was to make them “content neutral” and constitutional, after the Third Court of Appeals ruled in Auspro vs TxDOT that the rules violated the First Amendment and were unenforceable. A second reason for amending the rules was to address recent Texas legislation rendering signs existing prior to March 1, 2017 at legal  and grandfathered heights, up to 85’ tall.

    This administrative rules making process  was completed by adoption of the amended rules by the Commission at its meeting on February 22nd. In doing so, the Commission made an important change in the rule governing the height of new and relocated  commercial signs, namely the following revision to Section 21.189:  “(a) Except as provided by this subsection and subsections (f) and (g) of this section, a commercial sign may not be erected that exceeds an overall height of 42-1/2 feet. If the legislature does not establish a maximum overall height of commercial signs before September 3, 2019,  a commercial sign may not be erected that exceeds an overall height of 85 feet.”

    New and relocated commercial signs (formerly known as “off-premise signs”) must at this time comply with the current height limit of 42.5 feet. However, if the Texas Legislature fails to pass a law in the next session establishing a height limit on commercial signs-whether at 42.5 feet, 65 feet, or anything else-the authorized height for new and relocated commercial signs is increased to 85 feet, effective at end of the Legislative session on September 3, 2019.

    For another perspective and report on the issue, the Houston Chronicle published the following article in its February 23rd addition:



    We have reviewed and analyzed this and the other amended rules passed by the Commission. Please contact us if you have any questions about them, or if we can assist on any other matters.



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