Ordered to remove Business Sign

Submitted by Mike on 10/10/05 at 4:51 PM. ( )

I received a letter from the WI DOT ordering me to remove my taxidermy business sign from my land adjacent to the State Highway. I was given a copy of the statutes and realize their point. Since my business nor my driveway for my business is located on the highway,(I'm on a side road about 1/8 of a mile away on the same property)my sign is considered "off premises". I was told to locate some commercial zoned land nearby and try to put a sign there, since my land is zoned agricultural. I talked to the DOT person responsible and she explained the situation.

When I originally put up the sign, I called the DOT first 5 years ago and they said it was fine as long as it was on my property. Now they say they are "cracking down" and it needs to go.

They also state that it is for the maintainence of the landscape for drivers, but I don't understand that if I put a driveway there and a building, it would be o.k.

Since I am on a side road, if I remove the sign, it will be tough to find me for any new customers, and since its rural, I will probably only be able to get to some commercial land withing 3 miles either direction, and who knows what it will cost to put a sign there.

Any ideas on what to do here?

Return to The Taxidermy Industry Category Menu

Business Sign

This response submitted by Dennis on 10/10/05 at 5:21 PM. ( )

Mike, I do not know what state you are located, but the DOT made me take my sign down also. I live in Texas. I am 1 mile off the highway and I also had my sign on private property. They said I could leave it if I got a bond. Something about if someone was looking at my sign and had a wreck. I checked and the bond was way more then I could afford. The sign came down, but they paid me for the sign. I really do not know why they paid me but I took the money.

Controlling rules and regs, just pay those taxes!

This response submitted by Kim (Crazy Laws) on 10/10/05 at 6:24 PM. ( )

It seems that a lot of states are being anti-small business. If your sign is on your property and not obstructing anything, why would the state with all of it's rules and regulations want to tell someone thay can't advertise unless they pay a fee, post a bond or pay some one else some money that normally would not cost you a dime?

See about getting a varience. Can't do anything any more without having to ask permission from some body, even on YOUR OWN LAND.

That really makes me mad!


This response submitted by dex on 10/10/05 at 6:29 PM. ( )

In SD you can get the DOT to put up a sign or signs for you if your business meets certain criteria (for a fee, of course). They maintain the sign and the site around it. You could check that out w/WI DOT. They are cracking down around here with just any sign...must be a federal thing!? Good luck.

bigger sign

This response submitted by Mr.T on 10/10/05 at 6:43 PM. ( )

Put a huge sign in you're yard large enough to be seen from the express way. Light it up!

moving sign....

This response submitted by J on 10/10/05 at 7:59 PM. ( )

What may be an option for you, is moving the sign back. although I am not sure what township or county in wisconsin you are in, and if building permits are required? if so, definitley need a variance.
There is a certain footage from the centerline of most highways in wisconsin that you cannot place any object over 8 foot tall. what i would do is go about finding this info by basically telling whomever you talk to that you are interested in putting up a steel pole building, 12 or 14 foot, on that end of your property, and they should be able to tell you how close you could build it to the road.
also, I would call an attorney in your county, and see if he has dealt with any other owners having to remove "driving-distractions".
One of the biggest sign companies out there might also be able to offer some info, LAMAR signs they have billboards all over the place.
Good Luck! win one for the small biz owners of the world!

try to get a zoning variance

This response submitted by mike on 10/10/05 at 8:01 PM. ( )

Mike if you own the land check with your town board about having part of the land rezoned to commercial. But i would also check further on this rule i am also from wi and the state is full of signs-billboards on every highway fed.-state-cty-twnship roads i doubt that all the spots are zoned commercial ! You got me parnoid now because my sign is on a state hwy also. i think this person on the dot might have other agenda.

me again

This response submitted by mike on 10/10/05 at 8:17 PM. ( )

i think the easments along roads in wi is 33 feet from centerline, our township has been clearing trees and brush this distance, saying that the state has been pressuring them because of liabilties, snowplowing, etc. You know if a drunk drives off the road and hits a tree it's someone elses fault that he hit the tree, so someone gets sued because the tree was there.

Put it on wheels

This response submitted by jerry on 10/10/05 at 9:25 PM. ( )

Here in NY we have the same problem, so many small businesses put their signs on some type of wheels, making them non-permanent. I've seen them on trailers, wagons, old trucks, you name it.
I can't have a sign where I live, so I just put out a life-size deer form and hope hunters get the idea. So far it hasn't been shot.

My Sign

This response submitted by Mike on 10/10/05 at 9:30 PM. ( )

Is at least 100 feet from the centerline. The information I was provided for the "Off Premises" permit states that re-zoning the land commercial for purposes of posting the sign will not work.

The more I think about this, the more I feel like I need to fight it. I went out of my way to set my sign back, I called the DOT before putting it up and this sure seems like a slap in the face for a small business owner. I talked this over with my neighbor and mentioned how if my driveway was on the highway, I'd be o.k. He said I probabaly wouldn't be able to put one in because the DOT is limiting the number of access points to the highway here. I still think it would be more of a distraction to put in a driveway/ building next to the highway than to just have a sign there.

I think I'm going to take some pictures and send them to the governor with my story and see what he has to say. As of now I have about 55 days to come up with something before the sign has to go.

I would contact

This response submitted by Alex on 10/10/05 at 10:26 PM. ( )

My state legislator for your area, if he wants your vote he'll help you.

What State are you IN?

Another Idea...

This response submitted by Becky on 10/10/05 at 10:36 PM. ( )

Is your mailbox on the side of the road where people can see? Maybe you can build a sign to go on top of the mailbox? Here's another idea.....maybe you could build a very small shed on the edge of your property, and put the sign on the side of the shed. If it is legal to have the shed there, then it should be legal to hang a sign on the side of the shed. Do whatever you can to fight this, because the government probably wants money from you. It probably has nothing to do with your sign, and more to do with their power! And by the way, what the heck are billboards? They are the most distracting signs, designed for people on busy interstates and highways to read while driving. This business of removing your personal sign is just B.S!

a few things here, Mike

This response submitted by Bill Yox on 10/10/05 at 10:59 PM. ( )

First of all, do you need the sign for people to locate you, or are you saying that people just come by because they see a sign advertising you? If its simply a way for people already on their way to see you to find your place, just get a deer statue and paint it lime green. Tell all the guys you give directions to that when they get to the lime green deer, turn off the highway, etc etc. Better yet, build a small shed, and I mean small and inexpensive, on your property, NOT on the right of way, and put your shop name on it. If you have access to an old panel truck, park it over there, again, OFF the right of way, with your sign on it.

Where I come from, you dont need anything more then good directions to find a studio. But, different areas are different! Good luck!

Order to remove sign

This response submitted by Glennwood on 10/10/05 at 11:53 PM. ( )

Put a hay wagon out there with your sign on the back of it .

Thank You

This response submitted by Mike on 10/11/05 at 7:34 AM. ( )

for all the ideas. In my notice it states,"Also, be advised that any other unpermitted signs for your business installed in this area in the future will be removed immediately."

So according to this, my sign has to be on commercial property, I can't re-zone to meet this requirement, and there is no way to mark this road, at this spot on the highway to indicate where I am. A few years ago they repaved this section and put up new side road signs. They marked a road about 1/8 of a mile away with no one living on it, but didn't mark our road with 4 residences on it. The DOT contact said that it was a done deal and maybe my town could do something? So I'll check on that too.

The sign is not so much for advertising, but just to mark my location. If I take it down, the word will spread fast that, "Mike must have quit doing taxidermy." So I will need to put up something somewhere.

I have some time and your suggestions, I'll re-post some day when I get it worked out. Thanks again.

Try animals

This response submitted by Hugh on 10/11/05 at 8:50 AM. ( )

Ever seen any of those fiberglass animals that they use at waterparks and minigolf courses? They are not a sign, but can be used as a marker for your business. They can be expensive, but may work in your case. A 12ft fiberglass bear will definately be a marker for your business. You can tell customers "Turn left at the giant bear" and they will remember it. It seems every where you turn theres one of those cut outs of some fat lady bending over in a flower bed, or a cutout of a cowboy leaning against the garage, so why not the animal?


Do you have a kid?

This response submitted by Doug on 10/11/05 at 11:09 AM. ( )

If you do, you can put up a bus stop shed for your little one to stand in while waiting for the bus. Put your name a maybe a logo on the shed.

Flag pole

This response submitted by Skullery....Jeff on 10/11/05 at 12:37 PM. ( )

Hi MIke, I think i know where you are. Since you are only i/8 mile away is there any way of putting up some kind of flag pole somewhere between your shop and the highway with some kind of marker on it.

oh well

This response submitted by Bill Yox on 10/11/05 at 12:46 PM. ( )

I still like the idea of putting the green deer staue out there. EVERYONE has those deer statues everywhere, they are not going to remove it. A lime green deer gets some attention, and makes people talk...in this case, about YOU!

Sorry Bill

This response submitted by Mike on 10/11/05 at 9:34 PM. ( )

But I have never seen a lime green deer statue, but I'll check the net for a picture. On a side note, I killed a buck here by my house, but it took a step when I shot, the arrow came out kind of lime green. I found him the next day, still alive 20 hrs. after the shot. And I believe it may be the deer I hit last year, it has a scar in the hide, will know for sure after tanning it as its skinned for life-size. It was a ten,(two little burr points) with a 20.75 inside spread, scores around 140, 4.5 year old from the teeth.

I know, I know it sounds like I need to practice, but last year was a distance thing and this year the step. Stuff happens sometimes even if you are prepared.

Paint your sign on a vehicle....

This response submitted by J on 10/12/05 at 4:22 PM. ( )

One thing that you might try, similiar to what somewhat else had said about a sign on wheels. pick up a "box-van" "cube-van" type thing and park the sucker out there, move it on sundays, or just keep moving it slightly, as long as it is on your property you should be ok. would they be able to say anything about a farm tractor or piece of equipment? perhaps a Hay wagon or semi trailer with your sign on it.


This response submitted by gill on 10/12/05 at 5:41 PM. ( )

put a for sale sign in your vehicle. for $10,000. you must be able to try to sell a vehicle off your property. especially if it is liscenced.

Return to The Taxidermy Industry Category Menu