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MoDOT rule causes ire in St. Charles County

Proposed new rules that may limit state directional road signs that highlight tourist attractions have drawn the ire of St. Charles County officials.

The county council passed a resolution at their Jan. 12 meeting opposing proposed new rules from the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission that could mean no signs for tourist or other attractions that don’t draw enough visitors annually.

The commission published proposed rules in December that would limit qualifying organizations that would be eligible to be included on a sign to those that draw at least a million people annually.

According to the rules published for the state’s new “guide program,” tourist-oriented activities or attractions that could merit signs would be limited to “natural, historic cultural and educational sites, areas of natural beauty, or certain commercial recreational activities, namely, recreational areas, amusement parks, arenas, golf courses and excursion gambling boats.”

The council’s resolution notes that the new state rule “excludes from participation many tourism oriented activities in St. Charles County and throughout the state of Missouri.”

Patricia Fulhorst, an official with the Daniel Boone Home and Heritage Center near Defiance, told the council that signage is critical because the home is along a winding country road on Hwy. F and a fair distance from interstate highways. She noted that more than 50 percent of the visitors to the home are from foreign countries or out of state.

The state has said it plans to revise those rules again, mentioning an annual attendance of 25,000 as new criteria. However, Councilman Joe Brazil (District 2) said many of the attractions that are mentioned on road signs, such as the Daniel Boone Home, may not draw 25,000 much less a million visitors a year.

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