MYRTLE BEACH — The Myrtle Beach Planning Commission will again look at the possibility of allowing electronic changeable message boards in certain areas of the city after members of the business community voiced concerns about the digital signs on Tuesday.
The commission is expected to report back to the council with a recommendation in about four months.
The council was scheduled to approve the ordinance that would permit the signs within certain districts inside city limits, including in the downtown entertainment district and in commercial areas. The commission previously recommended that any electronic changeable signs should not have running animation and would not change text more than once every 60 minutes.
Former city manager David Stadinger urged the council reconsider allowing businesses to use the signs.
“I’m concerned that the bright lights and the nature of the instrument is going to be something we regret down the road,” he said during a council workshop on Tuesday. “Put this thing on hold and appoint some group to look at this one more time. [Don’t put] a bloodstain on your legacy.”
Councilwoman Susan Grissom Means said the more she thought about the ordinance, the less comfortable she was with allowing the changeable message boards.
“The more I think about it and the more I look, the more I can see [the impact],” she said. “It really scares me.”
Mayor John Rhodes and Councilman Wayne Gray said allowing the signs would keep them in step with the latest technology.
“If you look around the country … every body is doing it,” Rhodes said.
But Ann Brittain, whose family is in the hotel business, asked the purpose of having changeable message boards.
“What is a sign? Is it business identification? Is it directional? Is it advertising? It’s not a billboard,” she said.
Rhodes proposed that the council send the ordinance back to the Planning Commission and Derek Mozingo, the commission’s chairman, said he planned to create a task force that would take another look at the implications. The commission is to report back to the council in 180 days.
“I’d like to see us make a decision. If we do vote to allow signs, we can allow the people who want them to have them in place for next season,” he said.
Gray said he agreed that the council needed to make a decision on the signs sooner than later.
“The conversation that this council has been having about digital signage is the same conversation we’ve been having for four years,” he said.
Contact Maya T. Prabhu at 444-1722.