The Vermont Statutes Online
§ 494. Exempt signs
The following signs are exempt from the requirements of this chapter except as indicated in section 495 of this title:
(1) Signs located on or in the rolling stock of common carriers.
(2) Signs on registered and inspected motor vehicles except those that are determined by the Travel Information Council to be circumventing the intent of this chapter.
(3) Signs, with an area of not more than 260 square inches, identifying stops or fare zone limits of common carriers by motor bus.
(4) Signs erected and maintained by or with the approval of a town outside the highway right-of-way, each of which does not exceed 64 square feet in area, excluding panel and frame, which may show the place and time of services or meetings of churches and civic organizations in the town, and which may include a panel which identifies the name of the town, the charter date, the date the town was founded, or any other significant date in the history of the town, and which the town wishes to identify. The panel may bear the wording "welcome to" the particular town. Not more than two such signs may be erected and maintained readable by traffic proceeding in any one direction on any one highway. The signs shall meet the criteria of the Agency of Transportation and the Travel Information Council. A sign that otherwise meets the requirements of this subdivision may refer to a census-designated place within a town rather than the town itself. As used in this subdivision, "census-designated place" means a statistical entity consisting of a settled concentration of population that is identifiable by name, is not legally incorporated under the laws of the State, and is delineated as such a place by the U.S. Census Bureau according to its guidelines.
(5) Residential directional signs, each of which does not exceed four square feet in area, along highways other than limited-access facilities (but not within the highway right-of-way), except that a license is required if the person maintains a professional, commercial, or business activity at this residence and wishes to indicate its existence.
(6)(A) Official traffic control signs, including signs on limited access highways, consistent with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) adopted under 23 V.S.A. § 1025, directing people to:
(i) other towns;
(ii) international airports;
(iii) postsecondary educational institutions;
(iv) cultural and recreational destination areas;
(v) nonprofit diploma-granting educational institutions for people with disabilities; and
(vi) official State visitor information centers.
(B) After having considered the six priority categories in subdivision (A) of this subdivision (6), the Travel Information Council may approve installation of a sign for any of the following provided the location is open a minimum of 120 days each year and is located within 15 miles of an interstate highway exit:
(i) nonprofit museums;
(ii) cultural and recreational attractions owned by the State or federal government;
(iii) officially designated scenic byways;
(iv) park and ride or multimodal centers; and
(v) fairgrounds or exposition sites.
(C) Notwithstanding the limitations of this subdivision (6), supplemental guide signs consistent with the MUTCD for the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site may be installed at the following highway interchanges:
(i) Interstate 91, Exit 9 (Windsor); and
(ii) Interstate 89, Exit 1 (Quechee).
(D) Signs erected under this subdivision (6) shall not exceed a maximum allowable size of 80 square feet.
(7) Signs of a duly constituted governmental body, including traffic and similar regulatory devices, legal notices, or warnings at railroad crossings.
(8) Small signs displayed for the direction, instruction, or convenience of the public, including signs which identify rest rooms, freight entrances, posted areas or the like, with a total surface area not exceeding four square feet.
(9) Signs to be maintained for not more than two weeks announcing an auction, or a campaign, drive, or event of a civic, philanthropic, or religious organization.
(10) Memorial signs or tablets.
(11) Signs erected by county fairs and expositions for a period not to exceed six weeks.
(12) Directional signs, subject to regulations adopted by the Federal Highway Administration, with a total surface area not to exceed six square feet providing directions to places of business offering for sale agricultural products harvested or produced on the premises where the sale is taking place, or to farmers' markets that are members of the Vermont Farmers' Market Association selling Vermont agricultural products.
(13) Murals that relate exclusively to a downtown designated under 24 V.S.A. chapter 76A, whether located within or outside the designated downtown itself, provided that all of the following apply: the mural is hand-painted; it is painted directly on the outside surface of a structure that has been in existence on the site for at least the preceding 25 years; it is located no more than three miles from the designated downtown; its placement has been authorized by the legislative body of the municipality in which it is located; and any words used pertain only to the direction or distance to, and the name of, the designated downtown. A mural exempted under this subdivision that is visible from the off-ramp of a limited access facility and not otherwise visible from such a facility shall also be exempt from compliance with subsection 495(b) of this title.
(14) Up to two directional signs with a surface area not to exceed one square foot per sign, erected by a town on any existing highway signpost on highways over which the town has jurisdiction, except class 1 town highways. The colors of the directional signs shall be in contrast to the colors used on highway signs. Directional signs on the same highway signpost shall be for different purposes. The erection of signs shall be under guidelines adopted by the town. Towns may charge a reasonable fee for the installation of approved signs.
(15) Municipal informational and guidance signs. A municipality may provide alternative signs of a guidance or informational nature and creative design to assist persons in reaching destinations that are transportation centers, geographic districts, historic monuments, and significant or unique educational, recreational, or cultural landmarks, including farmers' markets that are members of the Vermont Farmers' Market Association selling Vermont agricultural products, provided that such destinations are not private, for-profit enterprises. A proposal to provide alternative signs shall contain color, shape, and sign placement requirements that shall be of a uniform nature within the municipality. The surface area of alternative signs shall not exceed 12 square feet, and the height of such signs shall not exceed 12 feet in height. The proposal shall be approved by the municipal planning commission for submission to and adoption by the local legislative body. Alternative signs shall be responsive to the particular needs of the municipality and to the values expressed in this chapter. These proposals shall be subject to and consistent with any plan duly adopted pursuant to 24 V.S.A. chapter 117, shall be enforced under the provisions of 24 V.S.A. §§ 4444 and 4445 and may emphasize each municipality's special characteristics. No fees shall be assessed against a municipality that provides signs under this section and, upon issuance of permits under 19 V.S.A. § 1111, such signs may be placed in any public right-of-way other than interstates. This section shall take effect upon the Travel Information Council securing permission for alternative municipal signs in accordance with 23 V.S.A. § 1029.
(16) Signs displaying a message of congratulations, condolences, birthday wishes, or displaying a message commemorating a personal milestone or event; provided, however, any such message is maintained for not more than two weeks.
(17) Within a downtown district designated under the provisions of 24 V.S.A. chapter 76A, municipal information and guidance signs. A municipality may erect alternative signs to provide guidance or information to assist persons in reaching destinations that are transportation centers, geographic districts, and significant or unique educational, recreational, historic, or cultural landmarks, including farmers' markets that are members of the Vermont Farmers' Market Association selling Vermont agricultural products. A proposal to provide alternative signs shall contain color, shape, and sign placement requirements that shall be uniform within the municipality. The surface area of alternative signs shall not exceed 12 square feet, and the highest point of such signs shall not exceed 12 feet above the ground, road surface, or sidewalk. The proposal shall be approved by the municipal planning commission for submission to and adoption by the local legislative body. The sign proposal then shall be submitted to the Travel Information Council for final approval. Denial may be based only on safety considerations. Reasons for denial shall be stated in writing. Alternative signs shall be responsive to the particular needs of the municipality and to the values expressed in this chapter. These proposals shall be subject to and consistent with any municipal plan duly adopted pursuant to 24 V.S.A. chapter 117, shall be enforced under the provisions of 24 V.S.A. §§ 4444 and 4445, and may emphasize each municipality's special characteristics. No fees shall be assessed against a municipality that provides signs under this section and upon issuance of permits under 19 V.S.A. § 1111, such signs may be placed in any public right-of-way other than an interstate highway. Notwithstanding subdivision 495(a)(7) or any other provision of this title or of 23 V.S.A. § 1029, alternative signs permitted under this subsection shall not be required to comply with any nationally recognized standard.
(18)(A) A sign that is a banner erected over a highway right-of-way for not more than 21 days if the bottom of the banner is not less than 16 feet 6 inches above the surface of the highway and is securely fastened with breakaway fasteners.
(B) As used in this subdivision (18), "banner" means a sign that is constructed of soft cloth or fabric or flexible material such as vinyl or plastic cardboard. (Added 1967, No. 333 (Adj. Sess.), § 14, eff. March 23, 1968; amended 1971, No. 115, § 3, eff. April 26, 1971; 1979, No. 135 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1983, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.), § 9; 1991, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1991, No. 207 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 1, 2; 1991, No. 220 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1993, No. 121 (Adj. Sess.), § 8a; 1995, No. 190 (Adj. Sess.), § 12b; 1997, No. 120 (Adj. Sess.), § 8; 1997, No. 150 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 1999, No. 18, §§ 41e, 41g(c), eff. May 13, 1999; 1999, No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), § 33, eff. May 29, 2000; 2003, No. 160 (Adj. Sess.), § 59, eff. June 9, 2004; 2007, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), § 55; 2009, No. 51, § 4; 2011, No. 62, § 29, eff. June 1, 2011; 2015, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 53; 2017, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 17; 2019, No. 50, § 1.)