Government

Zoning board hearing for proposed billboard postponed until September

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A billboard along the Ben Franklin Bridge could soon tower over visitors in Cooper's Poynt Waterfront Park. Credits: George Woolston
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Camden, NJ--The City of Camden Zoning Board hearing for a billboard on the corner of Delaware and Elm streets at its meeting on Monday, June 4, has been postponed until September, according to city officials.

Interstate Outdoor Advertising is seeking site plan approval and use variances for a proposed permanent double-sided, digital billboard at 100 S. Elm St., Block 79 lots 3 and 8, at the foot of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.

The billboard is part of Interstate’s Camden Charitable Funding Project, a “first-of-its-kind” initiative started by Interstate CEO Drew Katz that would donate all profits from the sale of advertising on the billboard to “qualified Camden charities without any compensation or benefits to Interstate,” according to Interstate’s website.

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However, neighboring community groups, like North Camden’s Camden Lutheran Housing, Inc. [CLHI], are opposed to the proposed site of the billboard. According to the North Camden Redevelopment Plan, established in January of 2013 and where the site of the billboard is proposed, billboards are prohibited in the redevelopment area.

“I’m asking that the zoning board just recognize and uphold the tenets of the redevelopment plan,” said Betsy Clifford, executive director of CLHI.

The CLHI has created an event on Facebook urging residents to attend the zoning board hearing to voice their opposition.

“We built a beautiful park, let’s keep building on the vision and the plan for that area. It’s a beautiful waterfront park, with residential and commercial retail development, and a billboard is not part of that,” said Clifford.

Clifford added that if the billboard does eventually gain approval, the CLHI plans on challenging the decision.

“We will litigate it,” said Clifford.

Interstate Outdoor Advertising did not return phone calls for comment on Friday.

According the June 4 zoning board agenda, the zoning board will hear the billboard proposal at its September 10 meeting.

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