Daphne passes controversial sign ordinance

The City of Daphne has now welcomed an era of digital signage. The city leaders have been working toward updating their ordinance for over a year now.
During a city council meeting Monday night, council members passed an ordinance allowing for electronic signage in the city with a 5-2 vote.
Prior to the vote, the only permitted electronic signs were for schools and for civic use, neither of which have been put into practice at this point.
Those who supported the passing of the measure said it will be a big help to local businesses.
This is progress from where we were a few years ago when the city council had a really serious anti-business attitude, I feel,” Kevin Spriggs, owner of Eastern Shore Motel, said.
The ordinance includes a number of parameters regarding new digital signs, such as not allowing them to be larger than 30 square feet or be taller than 12 feet. The signs also cannot be more than 60 percent electronic.
One of the dissenting votes came from councilman John Lake who said the committee tasked to pour over the text didn’t have enough time to work through it all. He also said the city isn’t currently equipped to adequately monitor the proposed new signs and their brightness.
“It’s going to be impossible to enforce it. I mean, we’re not really enforcing our sign ordinance the way it should be now,” Lake said. “When you add that extra component to it, you’re going to make it very hard for an officer to really make a definitive judgement on how to enforce it.”
The ordinance will not extend to the Olde Towne Daphne or to residential zones, unless special permission is granted by the city.
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