Myrtle Beach Debating Digital Signage

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Myrtle Beach – or as I call it, Golf Heaven where I’ve badly played a dozen or more of the area’s 117 courses – is on the verge of voting on whether or not to allow digital out-of-home billboards and signs in the city.

While DOOH signs are already allowed in some areas of Horry County near Myrtle Beach, and a few signs already exist certain parts of the city, the city council is considering whether to allow the electronic signs at any business on Ocean Boulevard – the main drag – between 12th Avenue North and 8th Avenue North and 3rd Avenue South and 6th Avenue South to liven up the areas. (These are places where there are many rides and amusements that draw tourists and their families.)

Briggs Dickerson, manager of Peach’s Corner, was quoted The Sun News as envisioning an electronic changing sign all the way across the front of his burger/dog/fries restaurant on Ocean Boulevard. Dickerson, seemingly keen on the idea, 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.

The electronic billboards would not be allowed within 400′ of a residential area, and billboard companies would have to give up some traditional billboards to put up an electronic one – possibly in a two-for-one swap.

The Myrtle Beach City Council recently sent staff back to the drawing board to incorporate some changes into the proposal to allow the DOOH signs. It appears that council members favour allowing businesses to have one digital sign each in the areas under consideration.

The council also wants to reduce the number of billboards throughout the city, especially along Kings Highway, U.S. 17 Bypass and U.S. 501, and seems to have settled on allowing sign companies to convert one existing traditional billboard into a digital billboard of the same size for every two traditional billboard structures they remove. However, the issue of size is still under debate, with the Mayor (John Rhodes) preferring a limit of 450 square feet and the rest of the council leaning toward making the conversion from billboard to digital sign the same size as the traditional boards.

The ordinance will come up for debate again, and, perhaps a final vote, at the next council meeting early this month.

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