24VAC30-200-20. General provisions.
A. Permits will be issued by the department to control vegetation in front of a sign/structure that is not exempt from the provisions of § 33.2-1204 of the Code of Virginia or business that is visible from any highway as defined in § 33.2-1200 of the Code of Virginia and regulated by the territorial limitations as defined in § 33.2-1202 of the Code of Virginia provided the vegetation control work meets the criteria set forth in § 33.2-1221 and this chapter. An application may be filed with the Commissioner of Highways by an agent, including but not limited to companies that trim trees. In all other areas the local government official shall issue the permits.
B. All cutting to make an outdoor advertising structure more
visible from the roadway shall be limited to vegetation with trunk base
diameters of less than six inches. All cutting to make a business more visible
from the roadway shall be limited to vegetation with trunk base diameters of
two six inches. All stumps shall be treated with a
cut-stump pesticide applied by a licensed pesticide applicator with a license
issued by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in
Category 6. All pesticides shall be approved by the department or local
government official prior to use. Selective thinning in accordance with
specifications or removal of unsightly vegetation will be allowed on an
individual basis to enhance the health and growth of the best trees or to
eliminate roadway hazards if recommended by the certified arborist supervising
the work and agreed to by the department or local government official. Trees
that are diseased, damaged by insects, unsightly, or that pose a safety hazard
may be removed when recommended by the certified arborist supervising the work
and approved by the department or local government official. When tree removal
is recommended by the certified arborist and approved by this permit, the
permittee shall provide a list of suitable trees and shrubs and a landscape
plan to replace vegetation removed to the inspector or local government
official for review and approval prior to issuance of the permit. The certified
arborist and the department or local government official shall agree on size
and species of replacement vegetation. The permittee shall plant, at his
expense, all replacement vegetation at the locations shown on the landscape
plan in accordance with the specifications. The establishment period for
replacement vegetation shall be in accordance with § 605.05 of the
specifications. No pruning of vegetation to make an outdoor advertising sign
more visible from the roadway will be permitted if the cut at the point of
pruning will exceed four inches in diameter. No pruning of vegetation to make a
business more visible from the roadway will be permitted if the cut at the
point of pruning will exceed two four inches in diameter. No
leader branches shall be cut off in such a manner as to retard the normal
upright growth of the tree unless recommended by the certified arborist and
approved by the department or local government official. All trees and brush
removed shall be cut at ground level. Dogwood or other small flowering trees on
the site shall not be removed. The use of climbing irons or spurs is positively
forbidden in any tree.
C. When daylighting signs, every effort shall be made to form a picture frame around the sign with remaining vegetation so as to accent the beauty of the surrounding roadside. A picture frame effect shall be achieved by leaving vegetation in place that will cover the sign structure supports below the face as seen from the main-traveled way.
D. A permit must be obtained from the department or local government official prior to any vegetation control work on the state's rights-of-way. All work shall be performed by the permittee at his expense, including permit and inspection fees.
E. A violation of this chapter shall, in addition to penalties provided in § 33.2-1229 of the Code of Virginia, result in a permittee or its agent or both losing its vegetation control permit privilege for five years. Additionally, the bond amount used to secure the permit will be used for any reparations to the site. Inadvertent violations of this permit will require replacement on a four-to-one basis with other suitable small trees approved by the department or local government official to enhance the roadside beauty. The department or local government official shall have full authority to determine specie and size of all replacement vegetation if inadvertent cutting occurs.