Hearing set Jan. 24 on sign message frequency
CENTREVILLE — A public hearing was scheduled during the Dec. 13 county commission meeting for an ordinance that would allow messages in electronic signs to change more frequently, as well as to make general updates to the Code of Public Local Laws in Queen Anne’s County.
The hearing will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 24, in the Liberty building in Centreville during the county commission’s evening meeting.
Introduced by Commissioner Robert Buckey, Ordinance 16-12 would alter the allowed frequency of messages in freestanding signs to allow copy to change every 30 seconds opposed to one time per day as it was previously written. The ordinance was orignally written to allow copy to change every 30 minutes, but the Queen Anne’s County Planning Commission recommended it change every 30 seconds.
After the ordinance was introduced to the planning commission, principle planner Helen Spinelli said a meeting was held with local businesses to discuss the ability and frequency to change the sign’s message to accommodate multiple businesses in one site location.
“This bill was put together based on economics for the county. This is going to create more business,” Buckey said. “This is going to help these businesses out that have sales. And it’s a no brainer to me.”
Though electronic signs, include light-emitting diode (LED) signs, cannot have any revolving, scrolling or moving actions on the surface and cannot play video or automated messages, signs can include graphics, the amendment reads. Using only alphabetic and numeric characters, it reads, pictures or photographs that “are not distasteful or distracting” would be acceptable.
Electronic signs may not exceed an illumination of 7,500 nits during daylight hours and 750 nits between sunset and sunrise, the ordinance reads. Written certification from the manufacturer stating the “light intensity” was preset “not to exceed the levels specified” is required.