NORTH CALDWELL, NJ — An amendment to the Borough of North Caldwell’s sign code that would prohibit the display of signs on residential property for such professions as landscapers, architects, internet and telephone providers, contractors and painters was introduced at the North Caldwell Borough Council meeting on Tuesday.
Borough attorney David Paris explained that the prohibition, which had been included in borough regulations, was inadvertently excluded when the regulations were codified a number of years ago.
Paris added that a concern was raised that professionals were offering home repairs and other work at a discount for the privilege of displaying their signs on residential properties and it was believed that such signs would proliferate in the borough if left unchecked.
The attorney added, however, and council members agreed, that realtor signs that assisted residents in selling their homes should be exempt from the prohibition.
The public hearing and possible adoption of the ordinance are scheduled for Tuesday, August 8.
However, Paris said that the council currently sees no reason to adopt an ordinance limiting the display of political signs and setting a time limit for their removal.
According to former North Caldwell prosecutor Richard Verde, the Township of West Caldwell has a sign ordinance prohibiting the display of political signs on lawns more than 30 days before an election and calling for their removal within three days of an election.
Verde said he feared the future proliferation of political signs in North Caldwell, many of them put up on public rights-of-way and by candidates who did not live in the borough.
The borough attorney said that to his knowledge, Verde was the only borough resident expressing a concern about political signs and the council felt there was no reason at this time to put possible restrictions on free speech by passing the type of ordinance sought by Verde.
Verde claimed his complaints often were not acted upon by the mayor and council, adding that he also would attempt to get action on such items as potholes and crooked signs in the borough by running as a council candidate this November.
Alessi replied that the council listens to all citizen concerns and acts on them when appropriate.
The mayor and council, at Tuesday’s meeting, did address a concern raised by Cass Gilbert.
Gilbert said that his new neighbors on Park Avenue, before even moving into their home, hired a tree surgeon to remove a number of trees from the property and apparently chopped them up for use as firewood. He condemned this destruction of the trees and called for the borough to pass on ordinance limiting the removal of trees on residential properties.
Alessi said the governing body would look into such an ordinance at its next conference meeting, and Councilman Arthur Rees said he was strongly in favor of such a measure.
However, the mayor cautioned that any response would “have to be measured,” based on what he had heard about enforcement of tree ordinances in other nearby communities.
Gilbert, a 55-year North Caldwell resident, World War II veteran and entertainer, was invited to Tuesday’s meeting to be presented with a proclamation by the North Caldwell Borough Council in honor of being selected as the 2017 grand marshal of the West Essex Memorial Day Parade. To read more, click HERE.