Ocean City Targets Sign Sizes in New Temporary Code Change

Ocean City Targets Sign Sizes in New Temporary Code Change

(OCEAN CITY, Md.) - Several larger-than-life advertisements on a new ice cream shop on Coastal Highway could be a sign of the times that changes are on the way for Ocean City businesses.

The newly installed signs at Shugar Shack have prompted the town's zoning board to consider reducing the size and number of signs a business storefront can have.

Zoning administrator Frank Hall said an interim sign code change is now in effect for businesses adding new signs. The interim code will require signs sizes to be in relation to the size of a businesses' building.

The new temporary code only affects wall signs, new businesses and existing businesses planning sign upgrades. The zoning board has also reached out to area sign companies notifying them of the new interim sign code.

Hall said the new interest in changing the sign regulations come as preventative safety measure against distracted driving, though some visitors say larger signs are useful.

"I wish they were larger signs," said John Roth of Allentown, Pa. "They can be a little hard to see. If you're looking for a specific business, they can be hard to see."

"It's very helpful," said Cynthia Turner of Wilkes-Barre. "Especially when you're not sure of where anything is. You get to see them when you're coming a few blocks down so you're not turning in quick and getting distracted."

Sign sizes are regulated differently for businesses located downtown and uptown.

Even though Shugar Shack falls within the permitted sign requirements, zoning officials want a new code that's less ambiguous for businesses to interpret.

Hall said the town will seek input from the business community regarding how best to reduce the sign sizes while making sure stakeholders are satisfied.

Ocean City's town council approved the interim sign code at its regular meeting on August 21.