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Land use: Planners approve billboard sign limit

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

Georgetown County Planning Commission members recommended severe restrictions on any new billboards proposed for the Waccamaw Neck Commercial Corridor Overlay Zone last week.

At the suggestion of County Council Member Steve Goggans, commission members considered limits on off-site signs that would bring them in line with a newly enacted ordinance governing business signs in the corridor. Goggans said it seemed unfair to restrict a business owner’s sign without further addressing billboards after County Council approved an ordinance banning future electronic billboards last month.

Goggans proposed that future billboards be reduced in size from 440 to 200 square feet and in height from 35 to 15 feet. Additionally, they must be monument style near the ground. Chief planner Holly Richardson said the proposed restrictions would make most, if not all, billboards on Waccamaw Neck non-compliant. If destroyed or damaged beyond 50 percent of their value, their replacements would have to comply with the new rules.

County planning director Boyd Johnson called Goggans’ proposal an “interesting application” following the council’s third reading of the electronic billboard ordinance. He said Goggans felt the billboard ordinance was a good idea but didn’t go far enough and wanted to add restrictions.

“We were treading on questionable legal ground,” Johnson said. “We had not advertised it. County Council decided the best action was to remand it to the Planning Commission for a recommendation.”

The billboard limits now go to County Council for approval.

The commission also recommended approval of a proposal to add signs to the rear of two buildings at Pawleys Plaza with a slight modification. Mack Cross, agent for Sunbelt Ventures, asked that the Pawleys Plaza planned development be amended so 10 signs could be added to the back of a building along Petigru Drive and six signs to the back of a building facing Highway 17.

Cross said owners of Jersey Mike’s wanted a sign facing the plaza’s parking lot to attract shoppers leaving Publix and a planned Petco. Cross proposed signs that were 14 feet long and 2 feet high.

Commission member Lee Shoulette asked that signs along Petigru be reduced by 25 percent. “It seems like that would be a lot of clutter,” he said.

Cross said he would agree to reduce the signs along Petigru to 10 feet by 1.5 feet. Shoulette said he didn’t object to the size of signs facing the plaza parking lot.

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