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Permits for three signs sought by businessman

Published February 23. 2010 05:00PM

A local car dealer wants to erect three signs on property where he plans to construct a retail store in Palmerton.

Joseph Bennett will go before the borough's Zoning Hearing Board at 7 p.m. March 2 in search of a variance related to the maximum size and overall height of two proposed signs for the store.

Bennett wants to erect a sign for a Family Dollar store, as well as two others, at 545 Delaware Avenue, which is located in a commercial downtown zoning district.

Bennett previously owned the Bennett Palmerton Dealership at 555 Delaware Ave. He has since purchased the George Hahn Dealership in Lehighton, and will be the dealer for Chrysler in all of Carbon County.

In the meantime, the existing dealership sales and services operations have since been moved; the sales component to Lehighton, and the service component to Northampton, he said.

"We took the old dealership facility in Palmerton and have converted that to the Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit," Bennett said. "The other is a retail use for the front of the business, that is still in the planning stages."

Bennett said it's his intention to comply with the borough's zoning regulations.

"To the left of the dealership in Palmerton, which many know as the former Lefty Heydt gas station, that building is being torn down and we are building a new store for Family Dollar," he said. "As part of their conditions, they wish to have signage equal to what is permitted in the 600 block of Delaware Avenue."

The zoning ordinance allows a maximum size of 84 square feet for single-faced signs based on proposed building frontage. Bennett has proposed a sign that is 101.50 square feet.

Bennett has also proposed an additional 70.9-square-foot sign, with an overall height of 25 feet. The zoning ordinance limits the size of freestanding signs to 30-square-feet and 15-feet high.

In his rejection letter dated Jan. 27, borough zoning officer Duane Dellecker cited several reasons as to why Bennett's proposal was rejected.

One single faced sign attached to the easterly side of the building is 53.50-square feet in size, which Dellecker said appears to meet all requirements of the zoning ordinance.

However, one single faced sign attached to the southerly side of the building is proposed to be 101.50-square feet in size.

"Assuming the 70' building frontage with an estimated overall building height of 12', for an 840-square-foot total wall area, the maximum size of this attached sign is 84-square feet, according to Section 704.A of the zoning ordinance," Dellecker said in his letter. "The permit application appears to exceed this requirement by nearly 18-square-feet."

Finally, Dellecker said Bennett has proposed a third freestanding sign along Delaware Ave. that is 70.9-square feet in size with an overall height of 25 feet.

"Section 704.A of the zoning ordinance limits the size of freestanding signs to 30-square-feet, and limits the height to 15 feet," Dellecker said in his letter. "The permit application appears to exceed these requirements."

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