Although several states have followed Vermontâ€™s lead, the Green Mountain State was one of the first to outlaw billboards and enact a set of stringent rules regulating all kinds of other signage. A 1968 law prohibits privately owned, off-premises signs and restricts the size, height and distance from the road of on-premises signs. Signs arenâ€™t allowed to have moving parts or flashing lights, either. All signs are forbidden on the legal right-of-way. Communities may adopt laws more stringent than the stateâ€™s.Proponents of the billboard law point with pride at the stateâ€™s scenic, uncluttered roadsides as a key attraction for visitors. Others note the difficulties those same visitors have in finding their destinations.
The restrictions have led local entrepreneurs to look for new and eye-catching ways to grab attention. In Leicester, a 19-foot concrete gorilla holds a VW Beetle aloft in one hand over the lot of a used-car dealership. Elsewhere, eye-catching flags or giant objects sprout on buildings and lawns of retail establishments, land elaborately decorated trucks and vans are parked in conspicuous spaces.