Sussex County "Billboard Ban" Over - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Sussex County "Billboard Ban" Over

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Signs on Route 1 Signs on Route 1

SUSSEX COUNTY, Del. - Fourteen months after Sussex County halted new billboard applications, the Sussex County Council adopted a new ordinance, which lifted the moratorium and created some new rules. 

According to Sussex County Councilmember Rob Arlett, the changes occurred at Tuesday's county council meeting. He says one of the biggest changes is the distance between billboards. Previously, they had to be 300 feet apart. Now, they'll be 600 feet apart. Electronic signs must now be 1200 feet apart.

Lynn Rogers owns Rogers Sign Company in Milton. He says although the moratorium has been lifted, there's now more work in order to apply for a billboard.

"You have to meet all the criteria and if there's one thing on that list you can't comply with, you can't get a billboard," he said. "Prior to this, you could go to the board of adjustments to allow them to adjust some things. Now you can't do that."

He says the new process is more expensive as well.

"It costs the clients more money," he said.  "Because it's added to our administrative process now to do the proper thing to get the proper permits to put their signs up." 

Rogers said although the changes mean some existing signs are now against code, he doubts any will be changed or ripped down. He says they may, however, be altered if the property they're on changes hands.

Arlett told WBOC that this was the first in a two step process. He said this ordinance was dealing strictly with billboards and electronic signs. He said the next step is addressing "bandit signs" and flag signs that you see at businesses such as produce stands. Rogers says he's glad the council is moving forward and the moratorium is over, despite major changes.

"The days of doing something and asking for forgiveness versus asking for permission, they're gone," he said.

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