Queen Anne’s Planning Commission Supports Electronic Road Sign Proposal

A June 11 MyEasternShoreMd article reported that the Queen Anne’s County Planning Commission has made a favorable recommendation on Text Amendment 13-06, which would allow electronic signs, including those composed of light emitting diodes (LEDs).  The text amendment was sponsored by citizen and attorney Jeffery Thompson on behalf of CNB and includes limits on both the sign’s size and the way images can be displayed and animated.  According to the article, the text amendment also proposed limiting the number of times the sign’s message can change to one time a day, although the planning commission recommended allowing up to three message changes a day.  The planning commission’s recommendation now goes to the county commissioners for final action.

The debate concerning electronic signs goes back to the 2010 planning commission when Thompson filed Text Amendment 10-02 on behalf of several clients. The planning commission provided unfavorable recommendation to the county commissioners and made 21 suggestions for the commissioners to consider if they were to approve it, said Principal Planner Helen Spinelli. Text Amendment 13-06 was reviewed by the planning commission in April 2013, and the applicant was asked to work with staff to consider several issues, she said.

“There are differences between the recommendations from the planning commission in 2010 and what the applicant has presented and the advice given by the April 2013 planning commission,” Spinelli said.

The article also reported on witnesses that spoke in support of the text amendment:

Jody Schulz, president of the Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department, also supported the text amendment and asked the commissioners to consider allowing the electronics signs to change their messages more than one time a day.  …

He said well-lit LED signs look nicer and are safer than traditional signs because they are easier to read, and he noted that there have been no automobile accidents as a result of the firehouse’s sign. He added the restriction for the certification from the sign manufacturer and the password protection are “a little overboard.”