By Susan Canfora
The Millsboro Town Council on Monday is expected to discuss allowing the erection of billboards on Route 113.
The matter is listed on the 7 p.m. meeting agenda as “special advertising highway overlay district presentation by town consultant and update from town solicitor and AECOM.”
AECOM is an American multi-national engineering firm.
A few current, and prospective, business owners have asked to have billboards to advertise, said Town Manager Sheldon Hudson.
“We are leaning toward, and I am recommending, allowing them in the north and south ends along Route 113 … perhaps anything below and above a certain line,” Hudson said this week.
The consultant will make recommendations and the mayor and council will determine what the overlay district will look like. An overlay district is applied over one or more previously established zoning districts, establishing additional or stricter standards.
Because allowing billboards would pertain to a sign ordinance, there will be a public hearing.
“Sign ordinances are very hard to get right. We have a fair Board of Adjustment that tries to accommodate everyone. The whole point is to treat everyone the same. We are a business-friendly town so we don’t want to pick winners and losers. Where a town isn’t committed to principal, it opens itself to criticism. Most people just want a fair shake,” Hudson said.
Although some find billboards unattractive, Hudson said Trellis billboards can be rather appealing.
“You don’t want the overlay to be urban, but you need to try to accommodate those who are asking for it. It could potentially make Millsboro more attractive to businesses or those who want to annex.
“I hope we can accommodate businesses on Route 113 while keeping the town free of billboards. The billboards that are there now, on 113, are either grandfathered in, or they are not in town. I am thinking, if the council agrees, billboards could be allowed on the highway. One possible area is at the intersection around Routes 113 and 20 on the north side and on the south side,” Hudson said.