CALTRANS, signs and realtors

When Caltrans workers removed For Sale signs near Highway 395 in recent weeks, realtors were not happy. Wednesday)realtors and others planned to meet and hoped to hear from Caltrans on what’s what with signs and the highway.

Stan Smith of Pleasant Valley Associates said he was surprised and not happy when he found out Caltrans had removed some of his For Sale signs, didn’t tell him, and put the signs at the Caltrans yard with no notice. In late May, Smith emailed Florene Trainor of Caltrans with questions on what appeared to be a new policy to remove For Sale and directional signs outside of Caltrans’ right of way.

Smith said at the time, Caltrans apparently let political signs remain but removed real estate signs. Smith said it appeared the Caltrans enforcement was selective and did not hit all stretches of Inyo and Mono.

Florene Trainor told Sierra Wave that Mr. Smith’s signs were “in our right of way.” However, she also said that if For Sale signs were placed outside of the right of way, that would be considered an off-site sign and not allowed. She indicated that signs have to be outside 660 feet from the State right of way. She maintained rules have been in place since 1960.

Smith and others have invited Caltrans to realtors’ meetings to help explain the policy. Another meeting was set for today at 8am at the Title Building in Bishop. The association of real estate broker-owners and agents were expected to be there, along with the Owens Valley Contractors & Vendors.

Smith said he believes the past Caltrans policy on signs or enforcement of the policy changed abruptly with no notice.


57 Responses to CALTRANS, signs and realtors

  1. some Humor July 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    Maybe they moved the sign to 395 and 203 turn-off to Mammoth Lakes!

  2. Big AL July 10, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

    Out door advertising rules .. have been applied here, which in in fact have been in place since 1960. Requiring people or businesses to apply for a permit to place advertisement signs along the highway, off of the right of way.

    No advertisements or political signs shall be placed within the right of way. Most realtors know this, including Stanley. So they put them outside of the right of way, and for years it was not a problem. The rules of the out door advertising were forgotten or not understood by most people in Caltrans. They were allowed to exist off of the right of way.

    But now there are new personnel, and they are going by the rules and not allowing advertising with in the 660 feet exclusion area. It is dependent on the local Caltrans employees as to whether they remove any illegal encroachments or not. Some are lenient when others are by the book. Most realtors also know if their signs are missing and they know they were in the right of way, they pretty much know where to locate them, the local Caltrans maintenance station.

    • rules July 11, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

      big al. its not that we dont trust you, but could you provide links to the rules your “quoting”.

  3. upthecreek July 10, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

    here is a sign they need to post

    “Government gone Wild”

  4. Trouble July 10, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

    Sounds like cal-trans has nothing better to do. I guess we all need more snow next winter.

  5. Liberty Bell July 11, 2012 at 10:40 am #

    “…signs have to be outside 660 feet from the State right of way.” Wow! 660 feet sounds reasonable considering that this distance is beyond the scope of the human eye’s ability to notice, or read signs anyway. [sarcasm] This is very sad. Even when free market enterprise(Stan Smith) attempts to make a sale, which in turn creates wealth for the government thru taxes– bureaucracy will always step in to make it darn near impossible to merely survive with rules like these. Big top-heavy governments which enact an unreasonable amount of regulations on its citizens and impose unnecessary barriers upon free markets are unsustainable because the states survival is “ever-so” dependent upon the increasing rate of tax revenues created by fair market exchanges. In other words, regulations that negatively impact markets are not conducive to sustaining government. If you don’t believe me, then ask the TOML, Stockton, or San Bernardino “how is government interference in free markets is working out for you guys?”. To my knowledge all three have filed for BK within the last two weeks. I wonder how long a population will allow a government gone wild to continue down this path towards self destruction.

    • upthecreek July 11, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

      I wonder how long a population will allow a “government gone wild”
      to continue down this path towards self destruction.

      Bravo the people are starting to figure it out
      I have been saying this for 10 years


      • you reap what you sow July 12, 2012 at 8:07 am #

        “a government gone wild”

        Another teabagger who listens to Glenn Beck too much.

        • upthecreek July 12, 2012 at 11:31 am #

          Sorry Charlie …Don t listen to Glenn beck and never have.
          I just happen to be awake to the Ponzi scheme they call Government.

          . one day you will figure this out for yourself..


    • Big AL July 11, 2012 at 9:48 pm #

      LOL Liberty bell donging wild, legislation such as California Out Door Advertisement Act was not enacted to ruin business, it was enacted to control advertisement adjacent to the highways, roads and streets.

      Basically, if there was no control .. advertisements and illegal signs would run rampant, drowning out the necessary signs and their messages we need for driving on the highways. roads and streets.

      I think if you can’t see something on a sign 660 feet away LB, then you might consider a new pair of Walmart glasses (Scarcasm). Those advertisement signs usually have a sufficient sized font to afford visibility from that distance.

      Rules, try this link …. A bit lengthy but it spells it all out.

      Unfortunately there is no provision for advertisement within the right of way whether it be a highway or even city street. The state treats it more seriously than local governments, and rightfully so .. and even more so in these days of frivolous law suits. If an illegal encroachment either directly or indirectly leads to an accident, guess what … the state of California has to pay out another law suit, a lot of times, even if it isn’t at fault.

      • Big Rick O'Brien July 12, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

        From over 2 football fields away, I couldn’t make out my WIFE, much less a sign that says HOUSE FOR SALE.

      • Rules July 12, 2012 at 10:55 pm #

        i read the manual and 5460-5465 provides for the proper way to remove signs. It states nothing about Opie removing them illegally and keeping them at the district office.
        Caltrans should follow their own procedures, which btw is not the law.
        The Caltrans manual is an interpretation of the law. Cal Code is the true and correct law. In this instance, the law was not followed,

        • AL Grande July 13, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

          Define illegal removal from a state right of way … of an illegal encroachment .. in this case any sign placed without permission or permit?

          You’re really showing a good case for yourself rules .. quoting code and such or .. partially quoting codes and such.

          • Rules July 14, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

            The ROW is dedicated to the people? It’s everyone’s right of way to use. Get the facts.
            There’s a reason Caltrans manual(which is useless in a court of law) does not reference “within the States ROW”.
            It’s our ROW. Mine, yours and everyones, not Al’s and his buddies ROW.
            I’ve sued Caltrans and so far I’m undefeated. Mabe I’m good, mabe Caltrans is wrong or mabe both.

            “Success is based on achievements, not attempts”

            Nice try. I guess

      • Rules July 13, 2012 at 12:01 am #

        Cal Code 2441 requires that written notice be sent by registered mail from Director or authorized person to the owner of the sign. It must state the code violations with citations and offer the sign owner the opportunity to appeal the decision to the director or authorized person.
        It’s called being bullied because you live in a small town that is not afforded the same opportunities as the rest of the country. It’s a Civil Rights violation unless anybody knows of a good lawyer in Inyo County that is well versed in Outdoor Advertising Law.
        If Caltrans has taken down your sign call them and ask for an appeal with the Director. It’s your right. Also, ask them to put back your sign back up until after the appeal.
        Call Nancy Escallier in ROW, fax them a copy of your request and send it registered return receipt.
        Otherwise, they will laugh at you

        • AL Grande July 13, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

          Good luck with that rules.

      • Rules July 13, 2012 at 12:13 am #

        when is the last time the state paid out for an accident involving a sign? Much less a real estate sign.
        How many bullies, er I mean lawyers you got at Caltrans. 1000, 1500 more?
        People are trying to feed their families and provide the County with some money.
        Caltrans is trying to place their own billboards on pristine land and signage on license plates. Get real

        • sierragrl July 13, 2012 at 9:34 am #

          you’re hilarious!

        • Get Real Yourself July 13, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

          I think the point is what gives a private entity the right to profit from the public right-of-way. How would Mr. Smith feel if someone put a sign up on his private property without his persmission? I’m sure he would take it down immediately. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. This has absolutely nothing to do with bullying or anything else for that matter other than a private entity has no rights in the public right of way.

        • AL Grande July 13, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

          You don’t even know what you’re talking about rules .. But as far as people trying to feed their families .. nice try on that too .. they can do it just as well with out breaking the “rules”
          People like you spout lot of junk .. it’s just a good thing a lot of people know better.
          Give me one example of Caltrans putting up their own billboards in your pristine land. Did you find one in the back country.

  6. JeanGenie July 11, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    I could be wrong, but I’m sure there are plenty of signs in the city limits of Bishop that are far closer tothe right-of way than 660 ft. What about them?

  7. H July 11, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

    Oh boo hoo…. quit your belly aching, have some whine with your cheese, and keep your signs out of the public right of way…

    Did you ever think that signs in the”public right of way” are a distraction. If it causes one accident, then the law is justified….

    What, do we live in the wild, wild, west with no law and order?

    This is a non-issue folks.

    • Rules July 14, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

      Stealing personal property is a serious issue.

      Respect the law

      • AL Grande July 15, 2012 at 1:13 am #

        So tell me how you see it as stealing .. .. when it is illegal in the first place? when it is given back on request?

        If you want to make a case here rules, then make it .. correctly with facts .. I stated the facts as well as I can see them .. so far you have not proven a case for how you see it.

    • Rules July 14, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

      Al is clearly wrong. Why is he trying to bully my protected right.

      • AL Grande July 15, 2012 at 1:29 am #

        LOL bullying eh? for stating how I see it? Get the facts straight rules .. lol the link is about signs put in people’s yards and or private property.

        So you say you have sued the state many times? so you are a lawyer or someone who sues the state? or both? Making money off of the expense of the tax payers, and helping to drain the state of money through frivolous law suits?

        That link you posted about protected signs on privet property has nothing to do with signs illegally placed within the right of way. Nice try though.

        And the BS about asking the directer to appeal an illegal sign that has been within the right of way and demanding that it be replaced .. LOL .. you might be able to fool some folks with that, good luck .. but there are people who know better. Oh but am I bullying you too much here?

        The right of way does not belong to everyone in the fashion that you claim .. it is public property yes … but there are rules in place that protect the integrity of the highway system. You might try to twist it to your perspective, and hope that people might swallow it. But there are people out there that know better.

        Ball’s in your court.

        • Rules July 17, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

          For everyone interested in this discussion I will give you the inside scoop.

          An FHWA employee, probably from the Sacramento office drove the soon to be Federal Aid Highway in Olancha and saw the signs.

          They punked Caltrans and told them to remove the signs or they wouldnt fund the Bypass and create the Billions of local jobs(what a crock) with their funding.

          The Caltrans office in Bishop needed to vent their frustration because they got punked so they removed the signs by illegal means and without due process.

          Next time they should call the Fresno office for clarification of the law

          Thats the real story

          • Big AL July 18, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

            “They punked Caltrans” That is a clown comment Rules, you are not making any points that you so desperately need by making comments like that.

            “The Caltrans office in Bishop needed to vent their frustration because they got punked so they removed the signs by illegal means and without due process.”
            So the truth of this statement and the context of your post, is that citizens had complained to Sacramento about illegal signs, an increase in complaints that triggered a visit by the inspector who toured Caltrans districts to review areas for of concern.

            As Caltrans commented in a recent article in the Inyo register, signs usually are not removed, for the most part in District 9. I think it is a combination of new personnel and the fact that Caltrans was forced to be more strict on removal of illegal signs with in the right of way, as well as removal of signs that are outside of the right of way, yet are within the 66o feet restricted area for signs.

            You still have not responded to my question of how it is you claim illegal signs placed in any restricted area are illegally removed by any agency effected? Could it be that you have no answer, because you are wrong in making that statement?

          • Benett Kessler July 18, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

            Big Al, Stay tuned. We at Sierra Wave hope to get to the truth of all this.

      • AL Grande July 15, 2012 at 1:37 am #

        Thats a clown comment Bro. .. that’s a clown comment.

        • Big AL July 18, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

          Right on Benett

  8. Mike July 12, 2012 at 8:45 am #

    The link to the rules is found below. This goes back to the days of president Johnson to avoid billboards everywhere. Could you imagine the amount of sign pollution? On site advertising is okay, just not the offsite signs. Some are grandfathered, which is why you see signs in olancha for subway 100 miles away. Also, the rules do not apply to tribal lands, which is why you see billboards on their lands.

    • AL Grande July 15, 2012 at 1:35 am #

      Rules, If people read all of your links, they can clearly see for themselves that what you are claiming is total folly! When are you going to present facts that show your case? And please help me understand how it is that removing illegally placed signs in the right of way is stealing .. so far you have not responded to that.

      • Rules July 17, 2012 at 10:40 pm #


        Am I stressing you to the point of staying up all night and refreshing your browser constantly. 1:35 AM posts are are proving I own you and Caltrans

        Im batting 1000 against your organization.

        Facts are based on law, I go to court and present facts. Have you ever been to court? Thought not. Im undefeated.

        This blog is as much law as your Clown manual, er Caltrans manual

        When government oversteps the law someone needs to put them in check. Im that guy.

        • Big AL July 18, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

          LOL Rules, I must be stressing you because so far I have presented facts, you have only presented clown statements and allegations. Yeah I am usually up late so .. yeah I come check to see what is going on on the site.

          I’m having a ball how about you?

          But I am really looking forward to hearing why you say government agencies do not have the right to remove illegally placed signs within the right of way, and in the case of Caltrans, any signs placed illegally within the 660 feet of exclusion under the outdoor advertising act, which by the way is a federal mandate, that is what individual states have to follow.

          Are you going to answer that, or am I bullying you too much? Yes I have been in court one time to see a lawyer lose a case against a government agency because he was incompetent, he took his client for a ride and lost all of the money she had won from a previous settlement.

          So you pride yourself on making money off of government agencies, stealing money from the tax payers … helping to cause the big deficit we are facing at this time, just wondering? You are probably a fine upstanding example of a lawyer, but I would give you some advice .. in in fact you are what you are .. I wouldn’t go around spouting off about all of your victories too loudly. Tax payers might get wise to you.

          • you know the type July 19, 2012 at 8:05 am #

            Big Al is no doubt a Big TeaPartier.

        • Jeremiah July 19, 2012 at 8:29 am #

          I dont know what channels you are watching but I see hardly any accountability for when Gov’t Officials, public reps, law enforcement, Gov’t entitys, politicians, etc. I rarely see them put in check when they break a law. So if you are the guy to do that then you arn’t doing a very good job!

    • Mark July 19, 2012 at 8:39 am #

      What a bunch of crap.

      It’s time the tribe join the rest of the Country and quit getting special treatment.

      • Jeremiah July 19, 2012 at 10:07 am #

        Yeah Right like the Tribes are the only organization that get special treatment!
        Tribal Sovereignty might be hard for you to swallow but it is the least the Tribes that surround the valley should be granted. This whole valley should be reservation boundary considering the cultural significance, The Bow and Arrow originated from here;
        But since the white man was able to profit from alot here (Mining and of course water) that isn’t the case.
        Now we are all in a world of %&#@ thanks to the precendents that have taken place in time.

      • Hummingbirds July 19, 2012 at 10:51 am #

        Hummingbirds do not like to share. They are naturally territorial and will fight over your hummingbird feeder – no matter how much food you give them. The best tactic is to hang another feeder far enough away so that feeding hummingbirds cannot see each other.

        Blogs like this are no different than hummingbird feeders.
        They encourage acing each other out like hummingbirds will do.

        Lots of that going around today.

        • Benett Kessler July 19, 2012 at 11:43 am #

          So, are you saying that the act of communication always creates ego conflicts?

          • Hummingbirds July 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

            So, are you saying that the act of communication always creates ego conflicts?

            I love it when you play attorney, Benett.

            No. Conflict arises from political blogs such as these. And like the hummingbirds, those attracted to that type of nectar are like
            Timothy McVeigh and just want to argue … about everything.

            Does the Tower of Babel story mean anything to you?

          • Benett Kessler July 19, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

            I’m familiar with the story of the Tower of Babel, but this does not mean we have to
            engage in adversarial conversations. We can talk to each other with intelligence and
            thoughtfulness and forthrightness about what’s really on our minds – if you just want
            to fight with me, I’m not into that.
            Benett Kessler

          • What the ...? July 19, 2012 at 1:17 pm #


            Are you saying putting words into another person’s mouth is stellar journalism?

          • Benett Kessler July 19, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

            Dear What,

            If you have already decided I am an unethical liar, okay. I disagree and have no interest in debating untruths.
            On the other hand, if you want to discuss matters openly, I’m with you. Your above comment is too vague.
            Benett Kessler

          • Benett Kessler July 19, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

            Let’s have an example of “putting words into another person’s mouth.”
            If you want to complain, that’s fine. But be up front about what you are complaining about.
            Or, as one commenter suggested, call me and let’s talk about your issues. 760-937-3295.

          • Benett Kessler July 19, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

            Like I said to the other anonymous person, let’s hear examples of putting words into peoples’ mouths. It may sometimes
            seem incredible what people say, but I meticulously quote them.

  9. sierragrl July 12, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

    I understand the rule against the sign in the right of way, I hate it when temporary signs block your view when trying to pull out of a driveway or side street….but how can caltrans control 660 feet of other people’s property? That certainly doesn’t apply to realtor’s signs. they can be put on adjoining property. If I understand correctly, its the outdoor advertising signs (AKA billboards) that can’t be closer then 660 feet to the highway….and that came from ladybird johnson’s clean up our highways thing in the 60’s. Sounds like a bunch of misinformation between Caltrans PIO and whoever reported this information to KSRW

    • AL Grande July 13, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

      It always has been in the past .. that anything within the right of way was illegal.

      Say for example, it was placed next to the stop sign at Gerkin and 395 or on the back slope of the ditch next to it .. that is considered within the right of way It can not be placed there. So then the realtor, in this case, knows this, they place it on the land adjacent to the right of way, Caltrans has no control over that.
      It is allowed.

      A business owner places a sign on the side walk in Mammoth village, the side walk is part of the right away to a certain width, then if there is paved sidewalk beyond that, it is private property.
      The business’s employee places the sign out on the right of way portion of the side walk, now it is on the right of way and can not be placed there, it has to be moved back off of the right of way.
      Caltrans will notify the owner that it has to be removed from the right of way portion of the side walk, and explain why, if it is not complied with and the problem persists, it is removed and stored at the nearest maintenance location, where the owner can come pick it up, and admonished not to place it in the right of way portion of the side walk.

      As you said sierragrl, sight distances are one of the reasons they can not be placed within the right of way, as in the case of a sign placed on the sidewalk … it is a matter of impeding and .. in some cases endangering pedestrian traffic.

      And for “rules'” information signs have led to traffic deaths and fatalities in some cases. Signs placed in the clear recovery zone for instance can be a danger to people.

      If a person per say, placed a sign on a 10 inch diameter metal pipe with no break away point, it can cause injury or death, even wood posts without break away points, can kill people.
      Back to what Sierragrl was saying about sight distance .. it can impede a drivers sight distance, the ability to see clearly in a manner to afford visibility of oncoming vehicles. This can generate lawsuits as well .. even if clearly was no fault to the state, you can bet the lawyer will exploit it.

      So as in a previous post it was stated that this is how it was always handled .. the rules are in place, and personell reacted to it in various manners, and all illegal encroachments such as in this case .. real estate signs were not to be placed within the right of way and were always removed, if workers did not worry about them, they did not get picked up, but for the most part, they would be removed as per the rules. Anything out of the right of way was not bothered with.

      Sierragrl is right about 660 feat .. pertaining to larger “Billboard” type advertising signs to a certain extent, but in reality, it does include all advertising and political statement type signs per say. And it isn’t all just about safety, she’s right it has to do with asthetics as well. It’s just that they were not messed with because they are … off of the right of way. But now different people are treating it differently.

      Big Rick, I hope your wife didn’t read your post … lol .. But .. if someone had to put a sign out that far .. you make the font bigger, sucks, because now you have this humongous sign out there.

  10. Rules July 17, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    You must be one of those clowns that works for Caltrans(D9) in Bishop.

    What i think is funny is that Caltrans in Fresno(D6) creates all of your environmental docs either because Caltrans wants them hidden from people or because the Bishop employees do not have the necessary intelligence to write them.

    When you have to go to Fresno for help, thats a pretty pathetic statement.

    I said the enforcement(taking the signs without notice or due process)was a violation of the law. I said nothing about the legal aspects of the signs as your post infers.

    Provide a link for Caltrans remedies for violations of outdoor advertising, billboards or signs within Caltrans right of way.

    Craig Holste of Caltrans agrees State law dictates advertising laws, not clown manuals, er I mean Caltrans manuals.


    Can you please use your numerous accounts to like my post.

    • Big AL July 18, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

      LOL Rules .. keep the clown comments coming ..

      How do you conclude that removing illegal signs is illegal without due process of law? OK so .. help me and everyone else understand .. due process of law in this case? Can you quote something without presenting a link to something to back this up?

      I think I must have to call Bulls**t here and say that you really are not a lawyer and really do not know what you’re talking about, so far you have been plausible at best in your allegations, you have not presented any solid evidence … only pieced together allegations and here say, supplemented with links that either do not back up your case, or do not even apply.

    • JeanGenie July 19, 2012 at 10:16 am #

      Rules, aren’t you and demographics one and the same?

      • Mistaken identity July 19, 2012 at 11:16 am #

        JeanGenie, aren’t you and Big Al one and the same?

  11. Big AL July 18, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

    Oh by the way Rules, I have only one, I was away from my computer so I used AL Grande … which is Spanish for Big AL, I voted on the BS side for ya there buddy, no worries.

    • Trouble July 19, 2012 at 5:37 am #

      nice to see the real Big Al back 🙂

      • Big AL July 19, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

        LOL Trouble thank you.

        Mistaken .. I don’t think so, I don’t play the multi moniker game like some do here. The only other name I have used here is Al Grande, because I was using another computer.
        And I am partial to ice tea, straight up no sugar. But thank you for the flattering comment Dr. Facts.


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