The Rush Township Zoning Hearing Board met last night to reorganize and to hear a request for variance from Chris McKinley of McKinley Carpeting.

Wayne Postupack and Cathey Schimpf were reappointed to the chair and vice-chair positions, respectively.

Jeff Hoffman, of Bartush Signs, Orwigsburg, presented the application on behalf of McKinley Carpet. McKinley plans to replace a 32 year old sign on his property along south 309 with a modern sign, of similar proportions, that will also include a changing message board. The petition sought relief from two sections of the zoning code, one regarding the location of the sign and one regarding a section that disallows signs with moving parts or flashing or intermittent illumination.

According to the current zoning rules, the sign would need to be set back farther on the property, to be the appropriate distance from the road and right of way. Hoffman argued that moving the sign farther back would both reduce its visibility and require changes to McKinley's parking lot and exit and entrance patterns. The new sign will be placed in almost the exact spot that the old one is being removed from, and Hoffman argued that the location of the sign should be grandfathered.

Hoffman also presented evidence that according to PennDOT regulations, a non-flashing sign is one that holds illumination for five seconds. According to Hoffman, the proposed message board would change every four seconds, with one second allowed for the change. He also referred to the International Zoning Code, a small business association handout, and a sign publication, "Sign of the Times", for additional information to show that the sign should not be considered moving or flashing.

Hearing Board attorney Joe Matika pointed out that according to the township code, any sign which changed in under 30 seconds was to be considered flashing. Hoffman said that the sign could be programmed to change at any interval. Hoffman also added that the sign could be used to display emergency messages regarding traffic or Amber Alerts, as well as community information and that the sign could also be programmed to be less illuminated during evening hours, so as not to disturb any neighboring properties.

The Zoning Hearing Board unanimously approved the request for variance. The Board also noted that Marion Lazur has requested a 60 continuance for her validity challenge to the Eastern Schuylkill Zoning Plan. The Board set April 19th, at 6:00pm, for that hearing.