North Myrtle Beach sign

North Myrtle Beach's new sign at the Main Street Connector and Highway 17. Photo by Christian Boschult 

North Myrtle Beach on Monday passed final reading of an ordinance to shorten the minimum duration of a sign’s message from 60 seconds to 10 seconds.

The initial version of the ordinance would have reduced the minimum duration to 15 seconds, but before final reading, the city amended the ordinance down to a 10 second minimum to match the city of Myrtle Beach’s ordinance and to match the Federal Highway Administration’s guidelines that refer to an 8-to-10 second message duration as common practice. 

The South Carolina Department of Transportation requires a minimum duration of 6 seconds, so the new ordinance meets state guidelines. 

“There’s no reason in us inventing the wheel or making up just a number to make up a number,” said North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley. “If this is what the federal government and Federal Highway [Administration] recommends, then I think that’s what we should go to.”

Signs that change more often than the city allows are considered animated signs, and aren’t allowed in the city except in planned development districts. 

City officials have said they made the change so that people sitting at the stoplight at the intersection of Highway 17 and the Main Street Connecter – where North Myrtle Beach’s new electronic sign is located – could see more than just one message. 

The ordinance will apply to all signs in the city, but billboards are governed by a different set of rules. 

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