Minutes: February 15, 2012*
Township Council Special Work Session
The Special Work Session of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 15, 2012, in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey. The purpose of this Work Session was to discuss a new sign ordinance.
Statement of Compliance
Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on February 9, 2012, and was posted on the bulletin board in the Municipal Building in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-6.
Salute to the Flag
The Council President led the assemblage in the salute to the flag.
Roll Call of Members
Present were Council Members Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Pat Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, and Council President Brian Lynch. Also present were: Craig Roland, Zoning Official; and Elmer Platz, member of the Economic Development Advisory Committee.
Open to Public Comments
There was no one in the audience.
Closed to Public Comments
The Council President closed the meeting to public comments.
Discussion on a New Sign Ordinance
Council President Lynch noted the reason for this work session, and he asked Mr. Roland for a status report on the sign ordinance revisions.
Mr. Roland advised that a new sign ordinance had been discussed and worked on with input from Vernon’s business owners, but that it had been on hold for about 2 years. He explained that they had originally looked at the sign ordinance in use in Sparta as a guide for Vernon. He noted that copies of the last draft from those work sessions had been distributed to each Council Member—dated 3/25/2010. He also had provided copies of Ordinance #08-02 which included a signage section on the Town Center, noting that it was different than the rest of the Township. He suggested that Council consider having one sign ordinance for the entire Township that would include the Town Center.
Council Member Dunn asked if the attorney had reviewed the draft, and if he could explain why it was better than the existing sign ordinance. Mr. Roland explained that this draft was developed specifically for Vernon, and not just adapted from another town as had been done previously. He also noted that this draft had been put together by the business people so that it encompassed issues they might encounter.
Mr. Roland was asked about replacement of current signage once the new ordinance is in place. Mr. Roland explained the process of changes depending on the percentage of change, as pre-existing non-conforming signage would be allowed. If a percentage of the sign were to be damaged, it could be repaired and maintained as it had been. However, if a sign were removed or became dislodged completely it would have to follow the new regulations.
Council Member Dunn noted that the draft did not appear to have a “purpose” clause for why the Township needs a sign ordinance. He was advised that it still had to undergo legal review and that would be when certain language like a purpose would be included.
Council President Lynch advised that the Council should read through the draft and have one more work session. After the next work session, he felt it would be ready for introduction.
Council Member Dunn asked how the businesses would be informed of the new regulations. Mr. Roland advised that he would stop by each business to make them aware of the changes.
Mr. Roland asked Council to look at the Town Center Ord. #08-02, and to either update it or make the new ordinance cover all signage in town (including the Town Center).
The Council President advised that he would have Mr. Kelly review the draft.
Council Member Kadish felt the section on political signage should be removed since the current form of government was non-partisan.
The Council President advised that Mountain Creek had submitted a letter with their recommendations.
Council Member Dunn asked to get names of people who had worked on the ordinance to develop what is currently being presented.
Mr. Roland was thanked for his input.
Council Member Eddie Dunn moved to adjourn the Special Work Session of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon. Council Member Patrick Rizzuto made the second; all were in agreement. The work session was adjourned at 8:16 p.m.
Susan S. Nelson, RMC, CMR
Minutes approved: February 27, 2012