Woolwich Amends Ordinance That Charged Residents For “Open House” Signs

woolwich webBy Jenny Cowan

WOOLWICH TWP. — At their meeting on Oct. 20, the Woolwich Township Committee approved an amendment to Ordinance 2014-15 concerning signage.

The ordinance originally stated that residents in the process of selling their home would have to apply for a permit to display a sign advertising an Open House. The cost was stated in the ordinance to be $10 per sign, up to a maximum of four signs.

The ordinance is part of an overall effort to reduce excessive signage on township property. However, after much debate, the Committee voted 3-2 to remove language in the ordinance that would require residents to pay for such signage.

Deputy Mayor Alex Elefante, who was in favor of the original ordinance language, argued that such permits and fees were a critical part of controlling the amount of signage, pointing to the fact that developers often post numerous signs on township property for new subdivisions, and that prior to the ordinance, many of those signs were for properties outside of Woolwich. “We need to have some control of the signage out there,” he said.

Committeeman Johnathan Fein disagreed. “I am unequivocally against any fees charged to a resident selling their house,” he said.

Mayor Sam Maccarone and Committeewoman Jennifer Cavallaro agreed that charging fees to residents selling their homes was troubling. Maccarone also noted that it would be difficult to enforce the ordinance. He said that the Woolwich Police are very active, and that he would rather have them focus on enforcing traffic and safety, versus acting as the “sign police.”

During the public portion of the meeting, township resident Jordan Schlump asked the Committee to approve the placement of a gardening shed in the parking lot of the township building adjacent to the Community Garden. The request was approved, and the shed will arrive within six to eight weeks.

In resolutions, the Committee approved a resolution to authorize the hiring of per diem snow plow operators. In his report, Committeeman Armano reminded residents to be patient after winter storms.

“The responsibility of the Public Works Department is not to get everyone to work on time,” he said. “This is a growing township, and we’re responsible for clearing the roads and making sure they are safe.”

The Committee also approved a resolution to acquire a development easement on the farm property of Russo Homes. This development easement effectively removes 31 planned homes on the property.

That land will now be considered protected open space. The Committee noted that this resolution furthers farmland conservation efforts as well as removes an additional burden on township schools.

In his report, Community Development Director Matt Blake reported that the township is currently working with Suasion Communications Group to develop an effective branding and marketing strategy for the development project on 322 and Kings Highway. Blake said that the group is currently working on finding an appropriate name for the space, and that the township hopes to attract more than just retail stores, but also entertainment and tourism.

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