County P&Z holds off on off-premise signage ordinances

The Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission at their Jan. 26 meeting once again deferred action on an ordinance to amend Chapter 115 of the county code relating to “off-premise” electronic messaging signs, which are typically in the form of billboards.

As they did at the public hearing held Jan. 12, the commission actually had two separate ordinances to consider on the subject: one that would set up a process for a public hearing for special-use exceptions for the signs through the Board of Adjustments, and one prohibiting the signs altogether.

Safety and distractions were common concerns noted at the public hearing by constituents and several of the commission members.

Commissioners suggested possibly recommending approval the first ordinance, with stipulations that the county council be able to review the resulting operating rules and allowing the Board of Adjustments to place conditions on any application.

As it stands now, property owners need a special-use exception for off-premise signs, and electronic messaging would require an additional special-use approval.

A motion was offered to that effect, but there was no second. Ultimately, commissioners again decided to defer action on recommending either approval of the BoA process or prohibition of the signs.

In other news from this week’s P&Z meeting:

• Commissioners approved an application from Collins 54 LLC for a conditional use in an AR-1 agricultural-residential district for a storage garage for trucks and equipment at the northeast corner of Route 54 and Road 389, for Brasure’s Pest Control, to expand their present business.

• The P&Z held a public hearing on and approved an application from James Moses to rezone from AR-1 agriculture-residential district and C-1 general-commercial district to all CR-1 commercial-residential district about two acres of land at the northwest corner of Route 54 and Road 396 (Westline Road).