Signage in Bethany Beach soon to change

In a Tuesday morning meeting on Nov. 14, the Bethany Beach Architectural Guideline Design Committee (AGDC) showed signs of cracking down on … well, signs. Results of the meeting may have local businesses making changes to the way they advertise to their customers in the future.

The committee met to converse and review in-dept signage requirements as proposed by Town Council and AGDC member Lew Killmer, a topic that had been put off, deemed an issue that needed to be addressed separately from other AGDC concerns.

Committee members discussed the requirements of signs throughout the town, but primarily addressed C-1 and C-2, the commercial regions of Bethany Beach. The east side of Route 1, consisting of downtown Bethany, is commercial region C-1, while C-2 includes the commercial district down Route 26 to Ocean View.

“The conditions of signage within the town need to be expanded and explained,” stated Killmer. His proposal offered photographic examples of different kinds of signs as well as usage, size, applicable zoning districts, and similar concerns, such as lighting.

One of Mayor Carol Olmstead’s major concerns was making sure that signs in the town are appealing. “Pole signs and electric signs are not in character of Bethany Beach,” she stated. Pole signs, that is, like the ones outside of DiFebo’s and Grotto’s Pizza restaurants along Route 26. The committee proposed that a grandfather clause be placed on the existing pole signs in town while the erecting of any other pole signs is prohibited.

Furthermore, it was suggested that existing pole signs be removed in 10 years of the Council’s acceptance of the proposal. As for electric signs, it was suggested that the ones belonging to the Baltimore Trust bank and the town’s fire station fall under the grandfather clause.

The committee agreed that lights are to be turned off in businesses no later than 12 midnight, or until the business closes. In the case of gas stations, motels and ATM’s, lights are permitted to remain on, as they are accessible, even if the building may not technically be open.

“This proposal is set in Jell-O, not stone,” said Killmer. “Plenty can still change.” The committee agreed that exceptions to items discussed can be negotiated and brought before the council prior to official approval.

The proposal must be reviewed by the Bethany Planning Committee and amended by the AGDC once more before being presented to the town council for approval.