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“It means ‘Keep Out,’” said Wayne Prewitt, University of Missouri Extension agriculture business specialist.
The “Purple Paint Statute,” enacted in 1993, provides Missouri landowners an alternative means of posting their property.
Landowners who wish to mark their property should take care to ensure that their marks are in accordance with the statute.
“The statutes are very clear and specify the minimum requirements to be considered valid,” Prewitt said.
Purple marks must be readily visible to a person approaching the property. Marks can take two forms:
-A vertical line at least 8 inches long. The bottom edge of the mark must be between 3 and 5 feet off the ground. Marks of this type can’t be more than 100 feet apart.
-A post capped or otherwise marked on at least its top 2 inches. The bottom of the cap or mark must be between 3 and 5 1/2 feet from the ground. Marked or capped posts can’t be more than 36 feet apart.
“The key is to make sure the marks are clearly visible,” Prewitt said. “Over time they may fade or become more difficult to see, so they may need to be painted regularly. It is the responsibility of the landowner or lessee to make sure they are clearly visible.”
The statute allows for the charge of first-degree trespassing, a class B misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of up to six months and jail and a fine of up to $500.
The full text of the statute (RSMo 569.145) is available on the Web site of the Missouri General Assembly at http://bit.ly/a8Kqxu.