Sussex County Councilman Calls for Sign Moratorium - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Sussex County Councilman Calls for Sign Moratorium

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

GEORGETOWN, Del. - "I've waited too long," Cole said. "It's time to bring it to a halt." 

Those were the words from Sussex County Councilman George Cole, from District 4, in regards to off-premise signs like billboards during a recent council meeting. 

"It's time to do a moratorium to move forward," he said. 

Cole's request was granted by a vote of 4-1. The county attorney told Cole at the meeting that he would present an ordinance for a moratorium at the council's next meeting.

Cole said that this would be a temporary remedy while the council re-works the sign ordinance, which members have been discussing for years. He said the proliferation of these large signs has been problematic. 

"There's clusters of them," he told WBOC after the meeting. "It's unsightly. The electronic ones can be distracting. And typically we are putting billboards that should be typically on a four-lane highway or an interstate, and we're putting them on two-lane roads."

The dissenting vote came from Councilman Sam Wilson from District 2, who said he did not think the change was necessary. 

"I don't want another regulation," he said. 

The off-premise signs are just one part of county concerns over signs. Another aspect of concern has been about what they call "bandit" signs, which are smaller ones that go on the side of the road.

The state removes hundreds of these signs every week. The Delaware Department of Transportation recently told the county to no longer remove these signs, while they reassess the "legality" of the county picking up signs from state right-of-ways.

"They're all for the help," said Jeff Leonard from DelDOT. "But we must be sure it's legal." 

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