In a 6-5 vote, the Virginia Beach City Council decided on March 30 to put off temporary regulations governing electronic or “LED” signs within city limits. Instead, the council will appoint yet another committee (the third one this year) to further study the issue.
About 20 signed applications which had been on hold will be allowed to move forward, and city officials expect more will be submitted to take advantage of the lack of regulation. Current city rules treat LED signs like regular signs.
There are no prohibitions on flashing, scrolling, video or color, elements some people argue make the signs look gaudy.
LED signs have encountered opposition in part because of aesthetic reasons. However, as we reported in a previous blog entry, some national safety advocates maintain that digital signs or electronic billboards are “weapons of mass distraction” that could be as dangerous on the roads as texting or cell phone conversations.
Virginia Beach City Attorney Mark Stiles apparently advocated enacting temporary rules while the committee came up with a more permanent solution, but a narrow majority on the City Council declined to follow his recommendation. It may be three months or more before the latest study committee submits a plan.