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Hagerstown planning commission briefs

April 10, 2013

Panel discusses rules for digital signs

Hagerstown’s seven-member planning commission Wednesday discussed adopting an amendment to the city’s Land Management Code that would permit but place regulations on digital signs, which are not currently allowed in the city.

According to Stephen Bockmiller, development planner and zoning administrator, an update to the city’s Land Management Code last year prohibited digital signs throughout the city. Current digital signs are a grandfathered use, he said. 

“The reason why we adopted the regulations we did is they were identified as starting to become a problem,” Bockmiller said of digital signs, specifically in residential areas.

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However, Bockmiller said the portion of the update to the city’s Land Management Code that prohibited digital signs was too stringent.

The commission focused mostly on proposed regulations on digital signs in residential districts, including images changing only every 10 seconds during the day and a locked image from dusk to dawn, but commercial and multiuse districts would have respective regulations as well, Bockmiller said.

After city staff conducts further research, the commission will hold a public hearing and then make a recommendation to the Hagerstown mayor and five-member city council, who will hold their own public hearing before making a vote to amend or not amend the Land Management Code, Bockmiller said.

Panel reviews revisions to car lot regulations

Hagerstown’s planning commission Wednesday reviewed revisions to the portion of an amendment to the city’s Land Management Code that cites car lots on properties of fewer than 40,000 square feet as a nonconforming use.

The commission approved the revisions following edits in word choice.

If later approved in a process of public hearings, the revisions will change car lots named as a nonconforming use to a permitted use, City Development Planner and Zoning Administrator Stephen Bockmiller said.

Car lots created in the future will not be subject to a size requirement, but rather,  “performance standards” and site-plan approval, Bockmiller said.  

The commission will hold a public hearing and then make a recommendation to the Hagerstown mayor and five-member city council, who will hold their own public hearing before making a vote to amend or not amend the Land Management Code, Bockmiller said.

— Holly Shok

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