Public hearing on proposed sign ordinance set for May 12

The Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission was set to hold a public hearing on Thursday, May 12, at 6 p.m., related to an ordinance to amend the code of Sussex County regarding signage.

Last month, the Sussex County Council introduced an ordinance that would revise the County’s current signage regulations. The proposed amendments would prohibit animated signs, abandoned signs (more than six months), mirror signs, V-shaped signs and signs with more than two faces. It would also raise the fees associated with signage applications, to help pay for an additional staff member to work on signage within the county.

Off-premise signs have been recommended to have their current minimum front-yard setback requirement of 25 feet raised to 40 feet. The minimum separation distance from a dwelling, church, school or public lands for an off-premise sign is currently 300 feet, while the proposed ordinance would require a minimum of 500 feet.

The current sign ordinance also requires off-premise signs have a separation of at least 300 feet from other off-premise signs. The proposed ordinance would increase the minimum separation distance to 1,000 feet, with an additional separation distance of 50 feet from on-premises signs.

A moratorium was placed on the acceptance of all off-premise sign applications by the County’s Planning & Zoning Office in September 2015, to give the council and staff the opportunity to revise the ordinance in its entirety.

Following Thursday night’s public hearing before the P&Z, the item is tentatively scheduled to be back on the county council’s agenda on May 24, for a public hearing before the council.