City to vote on electronic signage

Myrtle Beach, SC - By Brandon Herring - bio | email

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach City Council is planning a vote on whether or not to allow electronic billboards and signs in the city. The billboards and signs are typically lighted by light-emitting diode (LED) lights that change the images and words on display.

The billboards and signs are already allowed in some areas of Horry County near Myrtle Beach. A few of the signs have also been allowed at certain places in the city, such as the message board on the BB&T Coastal Field sign on 21st Avenue North.

The proposed ordinance city council is considering would allow the electronic signs at any business on Ocean Boulevard between 12th Avenue North and 8th Avenue North and 3rd Avenue South and 6th Avenue South.

"[They would be] something to liven up that area where you have all the rides and amusements and the fun things to do in downtown Myrtle Beach," explained city spokesperson Mark Kruea.

Peach's Corner manager Briggs Dickerson envisions an electronic changing sign all the way across the front of his restaurant on Ocean Boulevard.

"If it's done right, then it could be something people would want to come down and check out," Dickerson said.

Dickerson hopes the electronic signs will freshen up the areas where they would be allowed. He thinks if enough businesses in the two sections of Ocean Boulevard convert their signs the area would look similar to New York City's Time Square.

"If we here at Peach's Corner can maybe set a precedent for the area as far as putting up a really nice sign it gives these guys something to shoot for," Dickerson said.

The city council is also considering allowing changing electronic billboards in the city as long as the billboards are visible from Highway 501, Highway 17 Business or Highway 17 Bypass, 3rd Avenue South or a certain part of Seaboard Street. The electronic billboards also would not be allowed within 400 feet of a residential area. Billboard companies would have to give up some traditional billboards to put up an electronic one.

"We're proposing at this point a two for one swap: take down two existing signs and you could convert a third one to a digital messaging sign," Kruea explained.

Kruea said he expects a lot of discussion on the proposed ordinance on Tuesday morning before the city council votes in the afternoon.

"Council spent a lot of time talking about it," Kruea said Monday, referring to the two years council has considered a change in the ordinance. "I'm not sure that they are yet of one mind about which direction to go. So I would expect a thorough discussion in the morning about where we're headed with this.

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