Myrtle Beach Council considers sign changes

Myrtle Beach, SC - By Kyle Grainger - bio | email

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - For almost two hours Tuesday, Myrtle Beach City Council looked at options and listened to concerns of residents about the future of signs in the city.

City Council is looking to allow electronic message centers on signs some believe will be distracting. Council members are looking at how bright a sign should be and how often it should change, just for a few examples.

There are many concerns by some people who live in Myrtle Beach over the debate. Sam Burns wrote the original sign ordinance for the city in 1978 as a city planner. Now as a resident, he says message centers were left off the original ordinance for many reasons.

"They were distracting - they just created visual clutter and were really distracting for visitors and tourists and residents alike," said Burns. "Are those really important, are those necessary? And is it really essential to the success of that business to say Pepsi is 3.99?"

Opponents say the flashing moving signs would be a distraction for drivers and don't improve Myrtle Beach's image. Mayor John Rhodes says the city is taking every thought into consideration, but he believes the signs could actually clean up some of the clutter along the roadways.

"You've got message boards today that may have two black letters and a red letter and an L or something upside down to make a '7,' and that doesn't look good either," said Rhodes. "We're just really trying to clean up."

Rhodes says part of the changes would allow for more electronic billboards, which could be used to alert folks in emergency situations like hurricane evacuations.

Council wants to look at the regulations closer before making a final decision, so no action was taken Tuesday.

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