Public hearing held for signage moratorium

The Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission was set to take the next step toward a possible moratorium on off-premise signage on Thursday, Aug. 13, with a public hearing at 6 p.m. for an ordinance that would establish the moratorium on the special-use exception applications needed to get such signs approved.

The draft ordinance was introduced before the Sussex County Council on July 28 and states that the council “views the placement of off-premises signs as an important public-safety issue” and believes that “the recent proliferation of off-premises signs has a detrimental effect on the safety and welfare of the citizens of Sussex County.”

Councilman George Cole had requested the council discuss the County’s sign regulations at the July 24 council meeting, stating that he had spoken to Dale A. Callaway, chairman of the County’s Board of Adjustment, regarding signage.

“He’s relayed to me that they have problems with these electronic signs… Basically, our ordinance needs to rewritten.”

As defined in the County Code, Chapter 115, off-premise signs are signs “directing attention to a business, commodity, service or entertainment conducted, sold or offered elsewhere than upon the premises where the sign is maintained.”

If approved, the moratorium would direct the Sussex County Planning & Zoning office to decline applications for special-use exceptions for off-premise signs for a period of six months.

The moratorium is designed to allow the County “a reasonable time period for the review and study of off- premises signs, the preparation of proposed legislation to address resultant issues and the consideration of said legislation.”

The hearing was held after Coastal Point’s Wednesday news deadline. Those who wish to listen to the hearing may do so by visiting