MYRTLE BEACH — A Myrtle Beach Planning Commission subcommittee of 17 members will meet for the first time on Thursday to discuss the possibility of allowing Myrtle Beach establishments to have signs with electronic changeable message boards.
The City Council was scheduled to approve an ordinance Aug. 14 that would permit the signs within certain districts inside city limits, including in the downtown entertainment district and in commercial areas. The Planning Commission previously recommended that any electronic changeable signs should not have running animation and would not change text more than once every 60 minutes.
At the August council workshop, several members of the business community voiced concerns about allowing the signs in the city. Mayor John Rhodes proposed the council send the ordinance back to the Planning Commission and Derek Mozingo, the commission’s chairman, said he would create the subcommittee to take another look at the implications. The commission is to report back to the council in February.
“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,” Rhodes said at the August meeting.
The topic has been discussed by the council for about four years, said Councilman Wayne Gray.
Allison Hardin, a planner with the city and the staff member assigned to the subcommittee, said the commission spent about a year in 2009 researching the impact of the signs.
“We have a good blend of people [on the subcommittee] because we want to have a lot of voices in the conversation,” she said.
The meeting, which will be open to the public, is scheduled for 3 p.m. Thursday in the first-floor conference room of City Hall, 937 Broadway.
Hardin said there won’t be an opportunity for public input on Thursday, but there will be chances for people to speak on the issue before it goes back to the council in February.
This week’s meeting will discuss an overview on the signs, known as changeable electronic variable message systems or CEVMs, what laws are in place and goals for the subcommittee, she said.
During the August workshop, those opposed to the signs spoke about the fear that allowing changeable digital message boards would create visual clutter in the city.
“There are appropriate levels and ways that we can talk about making the signs [work],” Hardin said.
Temporary pool enclosures during winter months
Owners with property in flood zones now are able to apply for free permits from the City of Myrtle Beach to temporarily enclose pools during the winter months. The free permits would allow the pools to be enclosed from December to May. Pools are not allowed to be enclosed during hurricane months.
Permit applications can be downloaded from the city’s website at cityofmyrtlebeach.com/forms.html. Or contact Emily Hardee in construction services at 918-1111 with questions.
Contact MAYA T. PRABHU at 444-1722 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_MPrabhu.