Commissioner Chip Bertino

Commissioner Chip Bertino

(Feb. 19, 2021) Ocean Pines years-long campaign to replace manually updated community signs with electronic message boards came to fruition this week after the Worcester Commissioners approved an amendment to county zoning laws.

Worcester Director of Development Review and Permitting Ed Tudor said the conversations with Ocean Pines Association representatives about the signs began about a year ago.

“They’re seeking a text amendment to allow internal community identification signs,” he said.

In September 2019, the OPA Communications Committee began looking into replacing the community’s 13 marquee signs with digital versions.

After conferring with county officials it soon came to light that the sign swap would require a zoning code amendment specific to Ocean Pines.

Tudor told the commissioners on Tuesday the signs would be limited to non-commercial information relevant to the community.

“As originally proposed, the amendment would have allowed four such internal signs,” he said.

That count was bumped to six following a favorable recommendation for the amendment issued by the Worcester Planning Commission on Dec. 3.

Commissioner Chip Bertino asked Tudor if the number recommended by the Planning Commission was firm.

“There was some discussion about more than six signs at that meeting, is that correct?” he said.

Tudor said the discussion at the Dec. 3 meeting was wide ranging.

“There were a lot of numbers thrown around,” he said. “Some smaller, some greater.”

Bertino asked if the half-dozen figure could be amended.

Tudor said the signs would be internal to Ocean Pines and not visible to the general public.

Based on the dozen-plus existing signs, and the potential for emergency messaging applications, Bertino suggested a larger number would be warranted.

“The ability to have these signs changed remotely electronically would be a heck of a lot easier … from what we’re currently doing,” he said. “If we were to increase that number to eight instead of six would it really be a problem?”

Tudor saw no issue with the suggestion.

“It doesn’t cause me any angst by any means,” he said.

Bertino moved to amend the amendment to permit eight internal community signs, which was seconded by Commissioner Jim Bunting and passed unanimously. 

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