Township of Willingboro, NJ
Burlington County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Derived from Ch. XVI of the 2003 Revised General Ordinances of the Township of Willingboro. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 356.
Zoning — See Ch. 370.

§ 297-1 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following words and terms shall have the meanings given herein:
SIDE
Where a sign is applied or attached to any facade of a brick or masonry wall which comprises a part of an integral and decorative entrance or gateway from a public highway, street, or road, which entrance is at least six feet wide, each such facade shall be considered one side of a single sign, notwithstanding the fact that such walls may be structurally independent and separate.
SIGN
Includes every sign, billboard, ground sign, wall sign, roof sign, sign painted on the exterior surface of a building structure, illuminated sign, projecting sign, temporary sign, flag, pennant and badge and shall likewise include any announcement, declaration, demonstration, display illustration or insignia used to advertise or promote the interest of any person, firm or corporation when the same is placed either indoors or out of doors in such a way that the same is in view of the general public. "Sign" shall not mean or include any flag, badge or insignia of any public, quasi-public, civic, charitable or religious group, nor shall it mean or include the flags of the United States of America or the State of New Jersey.
SIGN AREA or AREA OF SIGN
Refers to the area included within the edges of the sign or within the outer edges of any frame attached thereto, whichever is greater. Where the sign has no clearly defined frame or edge, the sign area or area of sign shall be defined by and in terms of the four sides (straight sides) which most closely outline such sign or frame. In no case, however, shall the area of the frame exceed 25% of the total sign area or area of the sign. All signs attached to the outside windows or permanently attached to the inside of windows or glass or the inside of the building in such a way as to be placed within three feet of the window or glass shall be considered as part of the total allowable sign area for any structure or use. Furthermore, no combination of permanent signs or temporary signs as defined in this chapter, whether inside or outside of the structure in question, shall cover more than 50% of the glass area of any structure up to a height of six feet.

§ 297-2 Compliance required.

Signs may be erected and maintained only when the signs comply with the provisions of this chapter, and it shall be unlawful to erect or maintain any sign at any place within the Township of Willingboro when the sign does not comply with the provisions of this chapter.

§ 297-3 Permit requirements.

A. 
No sign which exceeds two square feet in area, nor which would be a professional sign under § 297-6B, nor any sign of any size which would cover up to 50% of the glass area of the interior-exterior of a structure shall be erected, maintained, removed, altered or repaired until a permit for the same has been issued by the Department of Inspections.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
B. 
Application for permit.
(1) 
The sign permit shall be issued only upon a written application for the same directed to the Township Building Inspector. The application shall contain the following information:
(a) 
The name, address and telephone number of the applicant.
(b) 
The location of the property upon which the sign is to be situated.
(c) 
The position of the sign in relation to nearby buildings and structures.
(d) 
The name of the person who will erect, maintain, remove, alter or repair the sign.
(e) 
Such other information as shall be necessary, in the opinion of the Township Building Inspector, to assure, under the circumstances, full compliance with this chapter and all other ordinances of the Township.
(2) 
No person, partnership, corporation or business entity shall erect, construct, maintain or alter or cause to be erected, constructed, maintained or altered any sign, unless a permit has been issued by the Building Inspector. No artisan, mechanic or contractor shall perform any work requiring a sign permit, unless the artisan, mechanic or contractor has first satisfactorily determined that a permit has been issued for the work. Any artisan, mechanic or contractor who performs any work for which a permit has not been issued shall be deemed in violation of this chapter and shall be subject to the penalties set forth in Chapter 1, Article II, General Penalty, of the Code of the Township of Willingboro.

§ 297-4 Fees.

Each application shall be accompanied by a fee set forth in Chapter 150, Fees, of the Code of the Township of Willingboro, except for those signs which are authorized and permitted pursuant to § 297-6C and E or pursuant to § 297-9 of this chapter.

§ 297-5 Appeals.

All appeals from the denial of a sign permit shall be to the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

§ 297-6 Signs in residential zones.

The following signs are permitted in those areas of the Township zoned for residential use:
A. 
Nameplate or identification signs: nonilluminated nameplate and/or identification signs which indicate the name and/or street number of the principal occupant of the premises and which do not exceed 72 square inches in total area. Such signs shall be, in all cases, situated within the property lines, and only one such sign per dwelling unit shall be permitted.
B. 
Professional signs: professional signs bearing the name of the professional person residing on the premises and identifying such person's profession which do not exceed 240 square inches in area. Not more than one such sign is to be placed upon any property.
C. 
Nonbusiness usage: signs advertising a use in a residential zone, such as a clubhouse, a church, a school, a hospital, a branch of the municipal government or a similar public or quasi-public building devoted to a nonprofit use, but not including any activity of a retail business nature, provided that the sign is located on the same premises as the use it advertises. No such sign shall exceed 64 square feet on any one side, and no more than two such signs may be placed upon any property.
D. 
Specific recreational activities: signs advertising a golf course, country club, private swimming club, marina, tennis court, equestrian trail, private stable or related open area, provided that such sign is located on the same premises which it advertises. No such sign shall exceed 64 square feet on any one side, and no more than two such signs will be placed upon the property.
E. 
Rental signs: signs pertaining to the lease, rental or sale of the premises on which they appear, subject to the following conditions:
(1) 
The size of the sign shall not exceed eight square feet in area.
(2) 
The sign shall be located upon the premises to which it pertains and shall not project beyond the property line of such premises.
(3) 
Such signs shall be removed within five days after the execution of any lease, rental agreement or agreement of sale for the premises in question by the occupant of the premises and/or the owner of the sign.
(4) 
Not more than two such signs are to be placed upon any property.
F. 
Height limitation. No sign permitted in a residential zone shall exceed 10 feet in height, as measured from the adjacent grade level.

§ 297-7 Signs in business and industrial zones.

The following signs are permitted in those areas of the Township of Willingboro which have been zoned for business and/or industrial use:
A. 
Specified residential zone signs: any sign permitted to exist in a residential zone under the provisions of § 297-6.
B. 
Illuminated or nonilluminated business signs:
(1) 
Illuminated or nonilluminated business signs which shall be applied or attached to the facades of a building and which shall not project more than 15 inches from the facade on which or in front of which it is displayed, nor extend above the uppermost edge of such facade.
(2) 
Where a permanent structure comprises an integral and decorative part of the total design of a building or shopping center site approved by the Township Planning Board, an illuminated or nonilluminated business sign may be attached to the facade of the structure, provided that it does not project more than 15 inches from the facade on which or in front of which it is displayed, nor extend above the uppermost edge of the facade.
(3) 
One exterior business sign shall be permitted to be applied or attached to a facade of any building or structure employed for any permissible business or industrial use if there is located within such facade a customer entrance to the building which is at least six feet wide, but the size of each such sign shall in no event exceed in area 15% of the overall area of the facade of the building on which the sign is displayed.
C. 
Freestanding signs. Freestanding signs shall be permitted but only if erected on the same premises on which the business to which they refer is conducted. Such signs shall likewise conform to the following provisions relating to their number and size:
(1) 
In a shopping center or industrial park, there may be one directory sign at any location therein which shall not exceed five square feet on one side for each acre of land in such shopping center or industrial park and at each point of entrance and exit for vehicular traffic into such shopping center or industrial park, one other sign which shall not exceed two square feet on one side for each acre of land in such shopping center or industrial park and at each point of entrance and exit for vehicular traffic into such shopping center or industrial park, one other sign which shall not exceed two square feet on one side for each acre of land in such shopping center or industrial park. In the interior of a shopping center or industrial park containing more than one building, there may be one directory sign not exceeding eight square feet on one side for each building unit therein.
(2) 
In a shopping center having walkways roofed over with a permanent rigid canopy or other such structural device, there may be one illuminated or nonilluminated sign for each structure or occupant in such shopping center, hanging from the underside of the canopy and not exceeding eight square feet on one side.
(3) 
In all other business and industrial areas, there may be not more than three freestanding signs, the combined area of which shall not exceed 64 square feet on any one surface. For purposes of this chapter, a freestanding sign shall be limited to two parallel advertising surfaces attached to each other and each having the same area, which shall not exceed 64 square feet on any one surface.
(4) 
No freestanding sign shall be erected in the Township of Willingboro which exceeds a height of 25 feet.
(5) 
Off-premises freestanding directional signs along U.S. Route 130 or any main (i.e., major) arterial streets or roads which intersect U.S. Route 130 and are in a primary business zone for the uses specified under § 297-6C and D hereof, not to exceed two in number for any such use and not to exceed 64 square feet on any one side.
(6) 
In any area in which such a sign is permitted to be erected or to exist, all refuse and papers shall be kept constantly removed from the ground spaces at least five feet in all directions around the sign, and vegetation shall be kept trimmed so as not to exceed a height of six inches.

§ 297-8 Traffic signs.

Freestanding traffic directional signs which are necessary to control and regulate the movement of traffic on the interior roadways and in the parking areas of the community may be erected; provided, however, that the number and location of such signs have been recommended by the Township Manager and approved by the Planning Board as part of a detailed site plan for the area or premises in question, and provided further that the signs in question are deemed by the Township Manager to be essential to traffic safety. Such signs, where permitted, shall not exceed four square feet in area and shall not exceed a height of 10 feet, except that when such directional signals are located at any point of entrance or exit for vehicular traffic in a shopping center or industrial park, this section shall not apply.

§ 297-9 Township limit signs.

Official municipal signs designating the corporate limits of the Township of Willingboro may be erected, but the same shall not exceed 64 square feet on one side.

§ 297-10 Temporary signs.

A. 
Model homes.
(1) 
The Township Building Inspector shall be and hereby is empowered to issue permits for the erection of the following temporary freestanding signs pertaining to the sale and advertisement of model homes within the Township in accordance with the requirements and standards hereinafter specified:
(a) 
On-premises signs not to exceed three in number for each model home, none of which shall exceed eight square feet in area on any one side.
(b) 
Signs, not to exceed two in number, within 100 feet of an entrance to or exit from a model home site, neither of which shall exceed 64 square feet in area on any one side.
(c) 
Off-premises freestanding signs along U.S. Route 130 or any main (i.e., major) arterial streets or roads which intersect with U.S. Route 130 and which are in a primary business zone, not to exceed two in number for any model home site, neither of which shall exceed 64 square feet in area on any one side for each model located in the model home site to which it pertains, and in no event to exceed a total of 300 square feet per sign.
(d) 
Directional signs along main (i.e., major) arterial streets or roads not to exceed more than one sign on either side of the road, per each 1,000 linear feet, none of which shall exceed 16 square feet in area on any one side, nor be located nearer than 100 feet to any existing building or other occupied structure, unless suitably landscaped with dense shrubbery so as to completely shield such sign from any dwelling or structure.
(2) 
None of the foregoing signs set forth in any portion of this subsection shall be erected more than 30 days before the actual opening of the model homes to which they pertain, and each and every such sign must be moved by the applicant or by the owner of the property upon which the same was erected within five days after the closing of any such model home or model homes. In order to ensure a prompt removal in the latter event, the Building Inspector may require as a condition of the granting of any such temporary sign permit a bond, cash deposit or other performance guarantee, in an amount adequate to cover all costs incident to the removal of the same by the Township, in such form as shall be satisfactory to the Township Solicitor.
B. 
Construction sites. The Building Inspector shall be and hereby is empowered to issue permits for temporary signs at a construction site which list the contractors, architects and other professional persons associated with the construction project. The maximum size of any such sign shall be 64 square feet, and the sign must be removed within three weeks after the building is occupied by either the occupant of the property or the owner of the sign.
C. 
Special sales. The Department of Inspections shall be and hereby is empowered to issue permits for temporary signs designed to promote special sales or other special promotion activities within the community. Each applicant shall be permitted to erect only one such sign on each permit granted, and the sign shall not exceed 32 square feet in area. No more than four of the permits may be issued to any one person, firm or corporation during any calendar year, unless the person, firm or corporation maintains more than one business location in the Township. No sign erected pursuant to a permit issued under this subsection may be lawfully maintained for any period in excess of two weeks from the date on which the permit is issued. The permit fee for all signs issued pursuant to this subsection shall be as provided in § 150-7 rather than the permit fee prescribed for all other signs by § 297-4 of this chapter.
D. 
Special events. The Building Inspector shall be and hereby is empowered to issue permits for the erection of temporary signs for and in connection with other special events in the community. Any such sign shall be removed by the applicant or by the owner of the property upon which the same was erected within five days after the event in question has taken place.
E. 
Political advertising. No person, firm or corporation shall affix, paint, post, hang or otherwise attach or cause or allow any of his, her, their, or its subordinates or employees, or allow anyone acting on his, her, their or its behalf, to affix, paint, post, hang or otherwise attach any political banner, poster, placard or political advertising of any type whatsoever to any hydrants, traffic signs, street signs, signal posts, electrical wires, telephone poles, telephone wires, public sidewalks, public pavements, public monuments, public statues situated in or upon any of the public thoroughfares or public places of Willingboro Township or upon any structure or building of the Township of Willingboro.
[Added 2-24-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-4]
(1) 
Placement of permitted signs. Political signs may be permitted within all zoning districts within the Township of Willingboro, provided that they are not placed within the right-of-way of any road or street and do not obstruct traffic or the view of traffic.
(2) 
Time limit for removal. All such political signs must be removed not later than the 14th day following the election involved.
(3) 
Application. Prior to the erection of political signs, a candidate or his or her agent, servant and/or employee shall file an application with the Construction Official. The application shall contain the following information:
(a) 
The name of the candidate.
(b) 
The office for which the candidate is running.
(c) 
The name and address of the person who shall be responsible and liable for compliance with the terms of this chapter.
(d) 
Such application shall be signed by the person who shall be responsible and liable for compliance with the terms of this chapter, indicating his or her consent to be so responsible and liable.
(4) 
Removal by Township; cost charged to applicant. In the event that political signs are not removed in accordance with Subsection E(2) hereinabove, the Township of Willingboro, in its sole discretion, may cause its employees to remove such signs and may charge the responsible and liable individual identified in the above-mentioned application with the cost of such removal.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Original Sec. 16-10.5e, Violations and penalties, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

§ 297-11 Additional regulations.

In addition to the foregoing provisions, the following regulations shall govern the erection, placement and removal of signs in the Township of Willingboro:
A. 
Flashing signs. No flashing, moving or reflective signs of any type may be erected anywhere within the corporate limits of the Township of Willingboro.
B. 
Obstruction of traffic signals. No signs shall be so placed as to impede or interfere in any way with the operation of a traffic light, traffic directional signal or general traffic vision.
C. 
Relation of signs to business on premises. In order to preserve the basically residential character of this community and to facilitate the improvement of its business and industrial areas in a safe and orderly manner, no commercial outdoor advertising signs, billboards or other signs which are not expressly and directly related to the business being conducted on the premises on which they are located and which are not expressly validated elsewhere in this chapter shall be permitted, and all such signs, as well as all other signs which do not conform to the specific requirements and standards set forth in this chapter, are specifically prohibited.
D. 
Removal of signs. Any sign now or hereafter existing which no longer advertises a bona fide business being conducted on the premises shall be removed from the premises by the owner of record or beneficial user of the premises within 10 days from the receipt of a written order to do so from the Township Building Inspector. In default of such removal, the Township Manager is authorized to effectuate the removal of the sign and to charge all costs incident to the same to either the owner of record or the beneficial user of the premises, or to both, provided that there shall be no duplication of the payment of such costs.
E. 
General welfare. If at any time the Township Manager shall determine that any sign in the Township of Willingboro constitutes a menace to the health, safety, morals or general welfare of the community, the Township Manager shall notify the record owner and the beneficial user of the premises on which the sign is located by serving a written notice upon the owner and user of the premises, together with a written notice of demand that the condition be remedied within 10 days from the receipt of the notice and demand. If the condition is not so remedied, the Township Manager shall undertake the necessary steps to rectify the same, charging all the costs incident to such efforts to either the record owner or the beneficial user of the premises, or both, provided that there shall be no duplication of the payment of such costs.

§ 297-12 Nonconforming signs.

A. 
Any presently existing sign which was legally erected and legally maintained under the terms of the ordinance regulating the same in effect at the time of its erection but which does not conform to the provisions of this chapter may continue to exist at its present location, but the sign shall not be altered, rebuilt, enlarged or extended unless such action is directed at and does, in fact, effect the creation of a conforming use.
B. 
The failure to keep a nonconforming sign in good repair for a period of one year shall constitute an abandonment of the sign, and the sign will then be removed by the Township Building Inspector.

§ 297-13 Violations and penalties. [1]

Every person, firm or corporation convicted of a violation of any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be subject to one or more of the following: a fine not exceeding $2,000, a term of imprisonment not exceeding 90 days, or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days, in the discretion of the Municipal Court Judge.
[1]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).