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Zoning Board Rejects Proposed Sign for Main Road Business

The controversial hanging sign was eliminated for the applicant 12 Main Road LLC.

The topic of a proposed hanging sign for applicant 12 Main Road LLC was controversial at the last Montville Zoning Board meeting, with members siting the redundancy of the hanging sign and the monument sign as well as the fact that hanging signs are prohibited in the property’s zoning.

The proposal for 12 Main Road LLC, which is 12 and 14 Main Road owned by Richard Jenkins, went before the zoning board last week for approval for several variances.

Jenkins is looking to renovate this location to allow for commercial tenants and a residence. The application was approved unanimously with the condition that the proposed hanging sign be eliminated and the applicant agreed to reduce the size of the monument sign to meet maximum height requirements.

Read more about Jenkins’ proposed renovations in this Patch article.

Two signs were proposed for the property. Each sign will list the names of the three tenants.

The first sign is a monument sign that sits on a masonry base making it a height of six feet, which surpasses maximum height requirement.

The masonry base “provides for a little more visual interest and helps promote visibility of the sign,” said Mia Alpos Petrew, AICP, professional planner of the firm Kenneth Ochab Associates, LLC, Fair Lawn, who was representing the applicant.

The second is a hanging sign that will replace an existing projecting sign. “Currently, hanging signs are prohibited in the district,” said Alpos. 

Board Member Kenneth Shirkey suggested reducing the size of the hanging sign or height of the standing sign.

“It’s like three inches that separate the two signs and it takes up an area of seven feet when you’re driving along Route 202,” said Shirkey. “It’s massive … it’s repetitive because it lists the same exact thing.”

The property currently allows two types of signs: a monument sign and a building-mounted sign that sits flush up against the building, said Schepis.

James Marinello, Board Chairman said, “hanging signs are prohibited here. The ordinance is only 2-3 years old and we’ve heard testimony from our planner that this (hanging sign should be reconsidered), that this is the second or third lot into the town, this is the first one that has come before this board for redevelopment. I don’t think it’s a good candidate for an exception” to an ordinance in the Master Plan. “If we don’t say no to this one, which one are we going to say no to?”

As more opposition was presented against the proposed signs, the applicant made an adjustment.

“I spoke with Mr. Jenkins and he’ll reduce the size of the monument sign to comply to the maximum height.”

However, with the building mounted sign, “since we reduced the height of the monument sign, that should alleviate the concerns” with the hanging sign in lieu of the building-mounted sign.

Bergis countered and said that despite that, the township sub committees were “unanimous in their view that this (hanging sign) was not an appropriate as a design feature for this corridor … There was a lot of discussion in what zone where (a hanging sign) would be acceptable.”

Currently, hanging signs are allowed in the Towaco zoning districts TC1 and TC2.

Board Member Donald Kanoff said of the hanging sign that, “I feel it’s going to be an eyesore.”

Shirkey said the topography in the area is generally flat so “I think the monument sign by itself to the traveling public is going to be more than enough.”

 “I think this is a great application and … hope that it’s successful,” said Marinello. “But, everything on the site encroaches … If we wanted to firmly stick to the master plan specifications, there would be no monument sign either … I think the addition … and maintenance of the sidewalk … this is the section of town were people do walk … I’m concerned about the hanging sign and how it would prohibit pedestrian traffic.”

“If we could come up with a solution to that hanging sign,” I would approve it, said Board Member Deane Driscoll. “It’s one of the doorways to Montville.”

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