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Franklin Twp. officials grants two variances

Published January 08. 2011 09:00AM

In Franklin Township, two variances were granted on Thursday night by the township's Zoning Hearing Board, the first was granted to a business owner to erect an oversize digital sign at 450 Interchange Road, Franklin Township, and the other to grandparents who want to add a second residence at their home on Long Run Road for their daughter's family.

Pam Fludgate, owner of a property at 450 Interchange Road, (Route 209) Franklin Township, was granted approval to erect a nine-by-four-foot oversize digital sign at her business, All Lit Up.

Fludgate said that she applied for the original permit to Terry Wentz, who was the then zoning officer on Nov. 17, 2008 and it was signed by Carl Faust, the township's Uniform Code Officer, on Nov. 13, 2009.

Fludgate said construction began late summer in 2010 and she said she was surprised when she was asked by the current zoning officer Matt Neeb whether she had a building permit.

Fludgate said that she had always been upfront about what she intended to do with Wentz and thought she had all the permit issues settled before the sign was ordered from China. She said that Frank Potoczak designed the sign while in China and the components were made in China and were assembled here. She said that the sign was an investment of about $35,000 and that Bartush Signs, Orwisgsburg, was paid another $25,000 for the development and installation of the base and support.

Potoczak said that the sign has been set up to change at six second intervals.

Zoning officer Neeb said that he had a concern that the six second intervals were too distracting to drivers and suggested that the interval between messages be longer. He also that when the sign was initially installed, that it was too bright.

Potoczak said that initially there was problem with the brightness, but that he had changed that brightness sensor that had failed which had caused the sign to be too bright.

Since Fludgate had applied for the permit, the township has adopted an ordinance that pertains to electronic signs in June 2009 which now requires applicants to seek conditional approval from township supervisors.

Flugate said that her goal is to rent space out on the sign to help pay the costs for it. Flugdate will advertise other businesses within the building and off site businesses.

Township supervisors had hoped to control electronic signage within the township to prevent businesses from using electronic message billboards to do off site advertising with the 2009 ordinance.

The variance was granted with two stipulations, that there must not be too much brightness in the sign that would distract motorists, plus that the interval between messages must be no less than 15 seconds.

George and Doreen Andrew of Long Run Road were granted approval to add an apartment on top of their garage which is under construction that will be used by their daughter and family for primary housing.

Andrew said that the apartment will be 600 plus square feet and will be approximately 26 by 31 feet. The variance was needed because the home is located in an agriculturally zoned area. The ordinance prohibits two dwellings on one lot in an agriculturally zoned area.

The variance was granted with no stipulations.

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