Township going after road signs

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:16

    Sparta-In addition to the mailbox issue (see story at left), the Sparta council is attempting to put another long standing township matter to bed. Several months ago, several local business owners attended a township meeting to oppose the enforcement of an ordinance prohibiting the use of portable signs. Like the mailbox topic, an ordinance prohibiting portable signage had already been in place, but had failed to be enforced by township officials until it was deemed "a growing problem." At that time, the council directed the owners to voice their concerns with the planning board. In addition, a sub-committee was formed to study the issue. The committee, comprised of local businessowners, members of the planning board, and Township Planner David Troast recently released its findings. As part of the compromise reached, Sparta businesses will be entitled to use temporary signs if they follow an established set of guidelines. Among the new rules is the prohibition of placing signs on a road's right of way or sidewalk where it can interfere with the flow of pedestrian traffic or pose a hazard to drivers. In addition, business owners cannot leave temporary signs outdoors for extended periods of time. According to Township Manager Henry Underhill, before the proposed legislation can be adopted, the council will have to balance a variety of remaining issues. "The council wants to attract business, without compromising the aesthetics of the town," said Underhill. The sub-committee chose not to address the issue of realty signs. Despite requests from local realtors, the practice of advertising an open house will remain illegal within the township. "You can only put a ‘for sale' sign on the property that is for sale," said Troast in a telephone interview last week. According to the township planner, Sparta is obligated to prohibit the placement of all objects that obstruct the right of way. Weichert Realtor Broker/Manager Andrew G. Milling, was one local resident who originally questioned the use of realty signs when the issue was first discussed. Milling was unavailable for comment for this story