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Signage on Route 35/36 Targeted by New Hazlet Law

Township elected officials approved an ordinance Monday that will 'turn down the volume' on signage.

The Hazlet Township Committee wants to clean up advertising clutter on State Route 35 and 36 and other commercial spaces.

Revisions to the township's sign ordinance were passed by elected officials on Monday night, after consultation with the Hazlet Business Owners Association (HBOA) and the township zoning official.

The changes include: a filing fee of $50 for permits, interior signage not to exceed 30 percent; the vertical dimension of signs in the Business Highway Zone are reduced from five feet to four feet; only one sandwich board sign is permitted per registered business, and a new section outlining the usage of grand opening banners, special sales and pennant flags was added.

"Some business owners have abused the privilege," said Township Administrator Brian Valentino. "We're putting the responsibility on the property owners" to regulate signage, he said.

John McCathy, the Vice President of the HBOA, said he and Cliff Moore, President of the HBOA, gave input on the changes. Both are connected to businesses at Airport Plaza, on Route 36 and Middle Road.

"Route 36 is shabby," he said. "Working together with the township, we thought we could clean this up with one major sign at each shopping center and have the landlord monitor the signs." The signs would be permanent frames that can change depending on the needs of the businesses, he said.

According to the multi-page legislation, pennant flags and streamers are out, as are signs posted on trees, utility poles, fences and water towers. Grand opening banners must be professionally made, and no larger than 4 x 8 feet. Freestanding sandwich boards placed on sidewalks along business highways districts must be taken in at night, and no more than five registered businesses can display the boards at the same time on the sidewalk.

John Dwyer, a co-owner of Bethany Liquors in Hazlet in the Staples shopping center said he supports the legislation as long as it is evenly enforced. "As long as everyone is treated the same, I'm fine with it."

Copies of the sign ordinance 181-410 (SIGN) of the development review ordinance can be obtained from the Hazlet Township Clerk's office.

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