Sign Ordinance Opposition Voiced at Sussex County Public Hearing - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Sign Ordinance Opposition Voiced at Sussex County Public Hearing

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GEORGETOWN, Del.- Sussex County's controversial sign ordinance introduced last April was greeted by some opposition at a public hearing Tuesday afternoon. In front of the Sussex County Council, some speakers raised concerns with the ordinance, which they called overly restrictive. All of this as a controversial moratorium on off-premise sign construction continues into its eight month. 

The ordinance is multi-faceted, addressing traditional and electronic billboards. It also looks to increase enforcement by increasing fines. In the end, no action was taken by the County Council because they are still awaiting a recommendation from the Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission.

Councilman George Cole has been one of the main advocates for the ordinance, arguing that the signs can be a distraction for drivers, as they proliferate across the county.

"We're starting to look like a mini-Las Vegas," said Cole in past interviews with WBOC. 

The ordinance targets traditional billboards, by creating mandatory front and back setbacks of 40 feet, while expanding the distance between off-premise signs to 1,000 feet. Currently, the mandatory distance between off-premise signs is 300 feet. The ordinance also increases both the annual fee and the construction fee for these billboards. 

Another main focus of the ordinance is on electronic signs, in which illumination standards would be created. The ordinance also would ban animations and noise on these signs.

The ordinance also makes changes with enforcement, by proposing to switch from a $25 "disposal fee" to a "removal fee" of in between $100 and $1,000. A public hearing for the Planning and Zoning Commission was set for May 10, and the County Council public hearing was set for May 24.

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