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Zoning hearing on LED sign postponed

Published January 17. 2011 05:00PM

A hearing originally scheduled to go before the Palmerton Zoning Hearing Board tonight has been postponed until further notice.

Palmerton Partners Inc., with property at 302-304 Delaware Avenue, plans to seek permission to continue to advertise on an existing LED sign.

The company is in search of an interpretation and variance with regard to a section of a borough zoning ordinance that would allow off-premises advertising on an existing LED sign.

The borough has "received several complaints with regard to the LED sign attached to the west side of the Palmerton Hotel", according to a letter dated Oct. 20 that was sent by borough zoning officer Duane Dellecker to Jim Christman, owner of the Palmerton Hotel.

Upon research, Dellecker stated in his letter that the property is located in a Commercial Downtown zoning district. While a permit was secured by Christman to install the sign on the building, no where on the permit application does it indicate the sign is to be animated or of a changing face, Dellecker stated in his letter.

However, Dellecker stated a section of the borough's zoning ordinance lists prohibited signs in all zoning districts, and that a specific section prohibits flashing, blinking, twinkling, animated or moving signs of any type.

Further, Dellecker stated that the borough recently "witnessed an advertisement for other businesses to advertise on the sign; this is clearly a violation as off-premises signs are not permitted."

In a follow-up letter sent to Attorney Tom Nanovic, whom Christman is represented by, Dellecker stated that "per our recent telephone conversation, with detailed discussions on this issue, we have revisited our position."

But, "since no appeal was taken within a reasonable period of time, and since this office has not pursued the matter for a period of about four years, we deem the permit to be valid and withdraw our previous objection", Dellecker stated.

However, in terms of the use of the sign for off-premise advertising, Dellecker stated "this office stands behind the previous decision that, pursuant to [sections of the ordinance], off-premises signs are not permitted in this zoning district."

Finally, Dellecker stated that the borough is in the process of writing zoning regulations to address the LED sign deficiencies in its ordinance.

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