Panel proposed to study issue of real estate signs


Baltimore County Council Chairman Charles A. Dutch Ruppersberger III wants to set up a special committee to deal with the controversy over temporary weekend real estate directional signs.

The county Planning Board recently recommended that the council make no changes in current regulations that prohibit the signs on county property and rights of way, although developers often put the signs up anyway.

Mr. Ruppersberger said he has asked Councilman Vincent J. Gardina, D-5th, to set up a panel of citizens, community leaders, real estate agents and developers to see if they can work out a compromise.

Mr. Gardina's district contains the White Marsh growth area, where the signs -- and complaints -- are most common.

Community leaders around the county say the signs are eyesores and have opposed changing the rules.

The real estate industry argues that the signs are essential for selling new home in housing developments because they attract drive-by house shoppers.

"The only thing I asked Mr. Gardina was that I wanted the committee to be equally balanced between the two sides and have reasonable people so we could have a good discussion on the issue," Mr. Ruppersberger said.

If the committee can't resolve the issue in 60 days, the council will go no further, he said.

"Right now we don't have the votes to make any changes in the regulations," he said.

Planning board members fought among themselves over the issue for six months before recommending that no changes be made.

In doing so, the board rejected a proposal that would have made the signs legal while limiting the number each developer could erect.

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