Sups approve EMC sign on Jeff Davis Highway

After approving an electronic sign last week, the Board of Supervisors voted to direct the Planning Commission to investigate a proposed sign policy change.

Last month, the Planning Commission recommended approval of a computer-controlled, variable message, electronic sign on property located at 10016 Jefferson Davis Highway. In its report on the proposed sign, which was requested by James and Gail Davis of Jefferson Davis Investments LLC, the staff recommended approval because the sign conformed to the zoning ordinance and electronic message center (EMC) sign policy.

At the Board of Supervisors meeting on Dec. 15, resident Bob Olson passed out a proposed addendum to the proffered requirements for the sign. He said he had no problem with the case, as it was one of the few requests that complied with the county’s EMC sign policy.

“Since we … could approve one tonight that meets the requirements, I think it is incumbent on us to add a requirement under the proffered conditions,” he said. He asked to add a requirement that “the sign’s manufacturer shall provide the operational software programmed to only operate in conformance with the proffered conditions.”

The requirement makes common sense, he said, and it would improve the staff’s EMC sign inspection process.

Applicant James Davis said, “We feel that the planning department has agreed to approve this and we’d rather not change any of the proffers.”

Bermuda Supervisor Dorothy Jaeckle said the planning department had discussed the suggested condition and “felt that it was not really something that we could do.”
Planning and Special Projects Manager Darla Orr said the issue was brought before the Planning Commission, and the applicants provided written confirmation from their sign company that the sign they’d purchased for their property did not have the ability for its programming to be “locked.”

Jaeckle said the applicant went out and did everything that it took to meet the policy, and she didn’t think it was fair to set a new condition on it.

Clover Hill Supervisor Art Warren said he thought the suggested condition was a “good policy” that the board should adopt. But, it hadn’t been adopted yet and he wasn’t sure it was fair to penalize this applicant for the violations of other EMC sign operators, he said.

The panel approved the sign unanimously. The board also voted 3-2, with Chairman Dan Gecker and Jaeckle in dissent, to direct the Planning Commission to review the condition proposed by Olson.

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