CLARK, NJ – A revised sign ordinance is headed to the Clark Planning Board after its introduction was unanimously approved at Monday night’s township council meeting. 

The ordinance defines three types of signs:

Window Sign: A sign, other than a projecting sign, to include design elements placed inside the window or immediately behind the windowpane or upon the window pane, and whether attached to the window pane or not, used to advertise, announce, or identify a person, entity, or product, or to communicate information of any kind, or to draw attention to the business or use.

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Window Graphic: Any graphic which is painted, attached, glued or otherwise affixed to a window, either inside or outside, or depicted upon a card, paper, or other material and placed on, taped on or hung immediately behind the window or displayed from a window in such a way as to be viewed from the outside, in close proximity to the building in which the window is located. Not more than 25 percent of any window area may be so occupied

Temporary Sign: A sign constructed of paper, cloth, canvas, plastic, plywood, or other lightweight material intended to be displayed for a short period of time not to exceed 30 days.

It also establishes criteria for the use of temporary signs, allowing them without permit in all districts within the township. The criteria include:

  • signs may not exceed 30 percent of the window area
  • signs may not stay up longer than 30 days and the date of the sign’s posting must be noted in the lower right corner
  • advertisements for special promotions, temporary sales, non-permanent sales promotions and seasonal decorations are permitted
  • signs must be neat and orderly and not contain obscene or offensive material
  • signs may be free standing or attached.  (note: free standing signs exceeding four square feet will require a permit. )
  • temporary signs may not be illuminated
  • signs are not permitted on telephone poles or trees

The ordinance also specifically states that “nothing herein shall be interpreted as to prevent the use of seasonal decorations by a property or business owner.”   Menus posted by restaurants are also exempt from sign requirements provided they are posted in a window or display case and do not exceed 1.5 square feet.

“The ordinance accommodates the concerns that were expressed,” Business Administrator John Laezza said, referring to objections the public raised over an ordinance that was introduced in January.  Township Clerk Edith Merkel reminded residents and business owners that only formal objections and concerns sent directly to her are considered by the council.  Merkel can be reached by email at clerk@ourclark.com.

The revised ordinance can be read here (beginning on page 16).  The planning board will review the proposed ordinance at its meeting on Thursday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m. in council chambers, 315 Westfield Avenue.  The public is invited to comment during the planning board meeting.  A public hearing before the council will be scheduled after the planning board takes action on the ordinance.

Two bond ordinances were also introduced at the Monday meeting.  The first, in the amount of $1,000,000, would fund the 2015 Capital Road Improvement Program.  Roads slated for repair in 2015 include Park Ridge Drive, Ascot Way, Malvern Drive, Oleander Way, Runnymede Road and Fisher Place. 

The second, in the amount of $800,000, would fund the acquisition of new or replacement equipment, machinery and vehicles for various departments throughout the township.  The DPW would receive a street sweeper, several trucks with plows and a leaf and branch pickup loader attachment.   The fire department would receive self-contained breathing apparatus equipment, thermal imaging cameras and turnout gear. The police department would acquire mobile license plate reader systems.

Public hearing on the bond ordinances will be held on March 16.

The final ordinance introduced establishes a cap bank. The cap bank is a fund that would be used in the event a public emergency results in the township exceeding its 2 percent budget cap.  The council also passed a resolution introducing the 2015 municipal budget.  Public hearing on the cap bank ordinance and budget resolution is scheduled for April 20.