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Oakland Planning Board reviewing illuminated signage law – NorthJersey.comMay 20
OAKLAND — The Planning Board is reviewing a proposed law to regulate lighted signs, especially ones that blink or create the illusion of movement.
PHILIP DEVENCENTIS/SUBURBAN NEWS
Rules for illuminated signs, including those advertising service stations, are contained in a proposed law under review by the Oakland Planning Board.
The Borough Council introduced an ordinance to amend the borough’s existing zoning code Wednesday, May 9, and is expected to adopt it Wednesday, June 27, following the board’s review.
The proposed law details 11 criteria for the installation of illuminated signs.
According to the proposed law, signs may be internally illuminated or externally illuminated; however, “no person may erect a sign which flashes, rotates, or has motorized moving parts or which features reflective strips of material that flutter with the wind.”
Neon lights and strings of bulbs, except those that are part of holiday decorations, would be prohibited.
The proposed law also states that internally illuminated signs “must be visible only through lettering” or other symbols. In other words, the remainder of such signs must be opaque.
The existing law is much less stringent, only banning signs with lights “of varying intensity” or that blink intermittently.
Officials say the proposed law is necessary to keep pace with advances in technology.
An application heard by the board in January for an amended site plan, specifically for upgraded signage, at Delta Gas Station on Ramapo Valley Road nudged officials to think about revising the code.
“We actually have been talking about this for about a year,” said board chairman Thomas Potash. “But, when the gas station application came up, it pushed it to the top of the priority list.”
Officials say the gas station’s owner failed to get permission to install a sign displaying illuminated fuel prices. He put it up anyway, replacing a non-illuminated sign.
During the course of the proceedings, according board minutes, the gas station’s owner was accused of perjury. Board members claimed he misled them by telling them that the only change he made to the sign was replacing non-illuminated numbers inside it with light-emitting diodes. However, by the time the board met again, it had been determined that an entirely new sign, bigger than the previous one, was posted.
As a result, the gas station’s owner withdrew his application because it would require a variance. He replaced the sign with one conforming to the code.
Board member Elaine Rowin, who voiced concerns in January about the gas station’s new sign, said last week that she’s just “not a sign person.”