FLEMINGTON, NJ – A plan to build billboards – what the applicant calls a “living wall” – will be the subject of a hearing before the borough’s Board of Adjustment on Aug. 27.
The proposal by Flemington Outdoor LLC seeks preliminary and final site plan approval for the project.
The “wall” would include what the application calls “message boards” to be built on the former Zippy Lube site on Route 202 South, which is now the home of Nod’s Auto on Flemington’s large traffic circle.
According to promotional literature distributed by the borough, 28,000 vehicles drive down Route 202 every day.
All the signs exceed the zone’s maximum permitted height limit of 4 feet, according to the application on file with the borough. Each of them also exceeds the maximum permitted height of 8 feet from grade.
The application describes signs that would be about 14-feet in height and rise from 22 feet to 24 feet above grade. The message boards would be more than 730 square feet and a cut metal sign would be about 11-feet tall and 622 square feet.
At last night’s Council meeting, Mayor Betsy Driver revealed that work on the plan has been ongoing for months, and that she and other Council members have privately reviewed them.
The plan needs several variances, including permission to build off-site advertising, which is not allowed in Flemington’s Highway Retail zone, and a hardship variance.
The project would also need variances from setback requirements. It seeks a 3.6-foot side yard setback where 25 feet is required under zoning rules. It also proposes a 1-foot front setback where 35 feet would normally be neeed.
The project would also include solar lighting and landscaping.The site’s existing buildings would be demolished.
Board of Adjustment approval would only be one step in the process. Borough attorney Frank Whittlesey said last night he hadn’t researched the process for other approvals, such as from the state.
The applicant is a wholly-owned LLC by Catalyst Outdoor Development, LLC. Records show that is owned by Thaddeus Bartkowski, III of Philadelphia and Patrick Wolfington of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The property itself is owned by OPOP, LLC of Hackensack.
The Aug. 27 Board of Adjustment meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Borough Hall.