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Bordentown Township zoning board OKs billboards along Interstate 295

The Bordentown Township Zoning Board of Adjustment has approved plans for the construction of two billboards along Interstate 295.

The decision from the board to approve the preliminary and final site plans with design waivers and variances so G.S. Realty Corporation may construct two single-pole billboards each with a static and digital side came at the board’s May 23 meeting.

Representatives of G.S. Realty said a static presentation on a billboard means the image does not move, while the digital sides can project multiple images and messages.

According to the site plan, the billboards are approved for a maximum construction height of 90 feet, with the signs measuring 16 by 60 feet. Although the billboards were approved for those dimensions, the applicant’s representatives said the signs may be smaller than the approved measurements.

One issue that was presented to the board was a distance measurement between one of the billboards along Interstate 295 and a nearby residential development in Mansfield Township.

According to the board members, an ordinance prevents the construction of a billboard within a 1,000-foot radius of a residential development. Given that a development in Mansfield Township, which borders Bordentown, was 950 feet from the proposed site, the applicant had to apply for a waiver and provide testimony regarding that issue.

According to Maurice Rached, a professional representing G.S. Realty, tree coverage and shrubbery that exists between the Mansfield residential development and the billboard would screen the homes from the billboard and warrant the granting of the waiver.

The nearest residential development in Bordentown Township from the billboard is 1,020 feet away, so the proposed site conforms to the ordinance.

“Because of topography and vegetation, a home in the Mansfield development will not see the billboard,” Rached said.

Another issue the board was presented with was the 2014 approval of two billboards to be constructed across from G.S. Realty’s proposed site. The 2014 approval was for another applicant.

According to municipal officials, that approval would negate G.S. Realty’s application because the distance between the separate, constructed billboards would not comply with another zoning ordinance.

The applicant’s representatives explained that the 2014 location is undeveloped and that no billboards have yet to be constructed there.

“The only thing I cannot get my head around is that we have to vote on whether or not this has no impact on future [site plans], that this doesn’t restrict the township in any way from enforcing its rules,” zoning board Chairman Michael Carney said. “Could we see this applicant coming back next year, saying, ‘This was approved and we’d like to do it on the next section of the highway?’ ”

A discussion among the board members concluded that any previous permits for the undeveloped sites could have lapsed and terminated.

Board members subsequently determined the billboards would have no substantial impact on surrounding properties, that proper landscaping would be provided beneath the structures and that the applicant had met all of the requirements.

A motion was made and passed to approve the application, with variances and waivers.

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