County to hold special signage meeting on July 11

The Sussex County Council will hold a special meeting on Monday, July 11, at 10 a.m. to discuss an introduced ordinance that would amend the county code regarding signage.

On Sept. 15, 2015, the council voted 4-1 to approve a moratorium on applications accepted by the Planning & Zoning office for off-premises signs. Since then, the moratorium has been extended twice. Currently, it is set to expire on Aug. 15.

The wording of the moratorium states that the Sussex County Council “views the placement of off-premise signs as an important public-safety issue” and believes that “the recent proliferation of off-premise signs has a detrimental effect on the safety and welfare of the citizens of Sussex County.”

The movement to revise the code related to signs was spurred by concerns raised by Councilman George Cole.

Following months of working group meetings, council discussions and public hearings, an ordinance to amend the code related to signs was introduced in April. However, those involved with the working group voiced concern that the introduced ordinance was not a proper reflection of their discussions.

That sentiment was strong enough, in fact, that Clear Channel Outdoor, Geyer Signs, Hocker Signs, Jack Lingo Realtors, J.D. Sign Company, Ocean Atlantic, Phillips Signs Inc., Premier Outdoor Media LLC, Rogers Sign Co. Inc. and Timmons Outdoor Advertising hired Georgetown attorney David Hutt of Morris, James, Wilson, Halbrook & Bayard LLP, who also served on the working group, to create an alternate ordinance.

Since the presentation of the alternate ordinance, the council and County staff have been going through the ordinance item by item to review the differences between the introduced ordinance, the alternate ordinance and what was recommended by the Planning & Zoning Commission.

As the council did not meet on Tuesday, July 5, due to the holiday and will not meet Tuesday, July 12, the special meeting was scheduled in the hopes of going through all of the County staff’s questions related to signs and the recommendations of others.

For those who are unable to make the meeting, it can be viewed live on the County’s website at Audio of the meeting will be available shortly afterward.