Township of Woolwich, NJ
Gloucester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Amended 3-21-1994 by Ord. No. 94-2; 6-6-2005 by Ord. No. 2005-16; 5-17-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-09]

§ 203-77 Signs.

A. 
Intent and purpose. In order to preserve the Township as a desirable community in which to live, farm and do business, a pleasing, visually attractive environment is of foremost importance. The regulation of signs within the Township is a highly contributive means by which to achieve this desired end. These sign regulations are prepared with the intent of enhancing the overall environment, specifically the aesthetic values, and promoting the continued well-being of the Township. It is the purpose of this article to promote the public health, safety and general welfare through a comprehensive system of reasonable, consistent and nondiscriminatory sign standards and requirements. These sign regulations are intended to:
(1) 
Enable the identification of places of residence and business.
(2) 
Allow for the communication of information necessary for the conduct of commerce.
(3) 
Lessen hazardous situations, confusion and visual clutter caused by proliferation, improper placement, illumination, animation and excessive height, area and bulk of signs which compete for the attention of pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
(4) 
Enhance the attractiveness and economic well-being of the Township as a place to live, farm and conduct business.
(5) 
Protect the public from the dangers of unsafe signs.
(6) 
Permit signs that are compatible with their surroundings and aid orientation, and preclude placement of signs in a manner that conceals or obstructs adjacent land uses or signs.
(7) 
Encourage signs that are appropriate to the zoning district in which they are located and consistent with the category of use to which they pertain.
(8) 
Curtail the size and number of signs and sign messages to the minimum reasonably necessary to identify a residential or business location and the nature of any such business.
(9) 
Establish sign size in relationship to the scale of the lot and building on which the sign is to be placed or to which it pertains.
(10) 
Preclude signs from conflicting with the principal permitted use of the site or adjoining sites.
(11) 
Regulate signs in a manner so as to not interfere with or obstruct vision of or distract motorists, bicyclists or pedestrians.
(12) 
Require signs to be constructed, installed and maintained in a safe and satisfactory manner.
(13) 
Preserve and enhance the natural aesthetics and scenic characteristics of this farming community.
B. 
Any sign, banner, billboard, or signboard hereafter erected or maintained shall conform with the provisions of this chapter and any other ordinances or regulations of the Township of Woolwich. A sign/signboard is defined as "a display (as a lettered board or a configuration of neon or lighted tubing) used to identify or advertise a place of business or a product." A banner is defined as "a strip of cloth, canvas or other flexible material which is durable and weather-resistant, on which a sign or an advertisement graphic is painted or displayed." A billboard is defined as "a large flat panel designed to carry outdoor advertising."
C. 
The limitations on signs as set forth for the various zones by this chapter shall not apply to any sign or directional device erected by the federal, state, county or Township government, or agency thereof, nor to any "no trespassing" sign erected in accordance with the applicable statutes of the State of New Jersey.
D. 
The limitations on sign location and area as set forth by this chapter for the business, commercial, professional and light industry zones shall not apply to parking lot markers, directional signs and entrance and exit signs which are erected on the premises, provided that each such sign does not exceed two square feet in area and does not contain any advertising of the use on the premises; and further provided that the number and location of said signs are approved by the Joint Land Use Board.
[Amended 11-17-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-15]
E. 
Substitution clause. Subject to the landowner's consent, a noncommercial message/copy of any type may be substituted for any duly permitted or allowed commercial message/copy or any duly permitted or allowed noncommercial message; provided that the sign structure or mounting device is legal without consideration of message content. Such substitution of message may be made without any additional approval or permitting. This provision prevails over any more specific provision to the contrary in this chapter and section. The purpose of this substitution clause provision is to prevent any inadvertent favoring of commercial speech over noncommercial speech, or favoring of any particular noncommercial message over any other noncommercial message. This provision does not create a right to increase the total amount of signage on a parcel, nor does it affect the requirement that a sign structure or mounting device be properly permitted. This substitution clause provision does not allow for the substitution of offsite commercial messages in place of onsite commercial messages. Additionally, this provision only allows for a change of message as any change in structure must comply with all relevant building codes and permit process.
F. 
Severability generally and specific to severability of prohibition on billboards. If any part, section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, phrase, clause, term or word of this article and/or any other code provisions and/or laws are declared invalid or unconstitutional by the valid judgment or decree of any court of competent jurisdiction, the declaration of such unconstitutionality shall not affect the prohibition on billboards as contained herein.
G. 
Other provisions of code regulating signs. This sign article does not supercede the more specific regulations set forth as part of the zoning and design standards enacted in connection with the Township's Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) Ordinance. The provisions contained in the TDR ordinances will govern any signage related to any comprehensive sign packages for development within the regional centers.

§ 203-78 Signs in residential zones.

The following types of signs, and none other, shall be permitted in residential zones subject to the restrictions set forth in § 203-80 of this chapter:
A. 
Official traffic signs.
B. 
Professional accessory use or name signs indicating the name, profession or activity of the occupant of a dwelling and trespassing signs or indicating the private nature of a driveway or premises, provided that the area on one side of any such sign shall not exceed two square feet.
C. 
Identification signs for schools, churches, hospitals or similar institutions, provided that the total area of one side of all such signs on any one lot shall not exceed 32 square feet; and identification signs for clubs, lodges, homeowner associations, estates or similar uses, provided that the total area of one side of all such signs on any one lot shall not exceed 12 square feet.
D. 
Real estate signs conforming to the requirements as indicated in § 203-80C.
E. 
Contractors, mechanics, painters, paperhangers and/or artisans may post a temporary sign on the lot on which the contracting work is being performed. Said sign may not be larger than six square feet nor more than four feet high. One sign is permitted per lot and block. Upon receiving a permit from the Zoning Officer, the applicant may post a sign once work begins and maintain the sign as long as the site is an active work site. The sign must be removed within seven days from completion of the work to which the sign relates.
[Amended 11-17-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-15]
F. 
Signs identifying or advertising nonconforming commercial or manufacturing uses conducted lawfully on the lot where the sign is located, provided that the total area on one side of all such signs on any one lot shall not exceed 32 square feet.
G. 
Billboards are specifically prohibited in all residential zones.

§ 203-79 Signs in nonresidential zones.

The following types of signs, and none other, shall be permitted in nonresidential zones:
A. 
Any sign permitted in residential zones.
B. 
Number and types of signs for businesses.
(1) 
Each stand-alone business, which is the only occupant of the nonresidential structure/building on the property, may have two signs: one main business sign located on the principal frontage and one located on the facade occupied by said business, provided that such sign shall not exceed 50 square feet or 20% of the total facade area, including windows and doors, whichever is less, and that any sign placed against the facade shall not project more than two feet. Where a nonresidential structure/building is located at the intersection of two public streets, an additional sign may be erected upon the side wall on the side street, provided that such sign shall conform to the requirements of the sign permitted on the facade or principal frontage. Height shall be in conformance with § 203-80E.
[Amended 11-17-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-15]
(2) 
Where more than one business, but less than five businesses, occupy the same nonresidential structure/building, only one freestanding sign is permitted for the property, and said freestanding sign shall not exceed 75 square feet nor a height of 20 feet. Each separate business shall be permitted one facade sign, provided that such sign shall not exceed 50 square feet or 20% of the total facade area, including windows and doors, whichever is less, and that any sign placed against the facade shall not project more than two feet, nor extend above the lowest point of the roof at the building facade. Where a nonresidential structure/building is located at the intersection of two public streets, an additional sign may be erected upon the side wall on the side street, provided that such sign shall conform to the requirements of the sign permitted on the facade or principal frontage. Any request for additional freestanding signs for each nonresidential use/business must be made to the Zoning Board component of the Joint Land Use Board.
[Amended 11-17-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-15]
C. 
Each shopping center consisting of five or more stores under one ownership or each industrial use may have freestanding signs in accordance with the following provisions:
(1) 
Each property having less than 300 feet of lot frontage shall be permitted one freestanding sign. Such sign shall not be located closer than 100 feet to any other freestanding sign on the same side of the street or closer than 50 feet to any property boundary. Individual properties may combine to meet the one-hundred-foot minimum separation and thus erect one freestanding sign to serve the combined properties. Such signs shall not exceed 100 square feet per face nor a height of 30 feet.
(2) 
Each property having in excess of 300 feet of lot frontage shall be permitted one additional freestanding sign of the same size and height as in Subsection C(1) above; or in the alternative may elect to increase the size of the freestanding sign allowed under Subsection C(1) above to a maximum of 150 square feet per face.
D. 
Gasoline filling stations, in addition to the main business sign, may display one freestanding sign advertising the name of the station or the principal products sold on the premises, including any special company or brand name, insignia or emblem, provided that such sign shall not exceed 25 square feet in area on each side and shall be erected within the property line and not less than 15 feet from any property line or street line. Gasoline filling stations located on corner lots with entrances from each street are allowed two signs. Such freestanding sign shall not exceed a height of 30 feet. Additional signs relative to the products sold or priced at the filling station shall be limited to three signs, and each such sign shall not exceed 10 square feet in area nor a height of 30 feet and shall not be less than 15 feet from any property line or street lines.
[Amended 11-17-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-15]
E. 
No business or industrial sign shall be placed to face abutting residential districts.
F. 
Temporary signs/banners. "Coming soon" signs/banners shall be permitted on nonresidential properties for 30 days prior to the opening of the business/office. "Now open," or "grand opening" signs/banners shall be permitted for 30 days following the opening of the business/office. These temporary signs/banners shall not exceed 20 square feet and shall not include any illumination, nor shall there be affixed thereon any balloon, streamer or any other decorative accessory. A temporary sign permit must be filed with the Zoning Officer for any new business, new owner of an existing business, or business name change. Such signs shall not exceed the building height. Refer to § 203-80A and B regarding placement restrictions.
[Amended 11-17-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-15]
G. 
Billboards. Billboards are specifically prohibited in all nonresidential zones, except they are specifically permitted in the Light Industrial Office (LIO) Zone within 75 feet of the New Jersey Turnpike.

§ 203-80 General restrictions.

The following restrictions shall apply to all permitted sign uses throughout the municipality and in all zones:
A. 
No sign shall be placed in such a position that it will cause danger to traffic on a street by obscuring the view.
B. 
No sign other than official traffic signs shall be erected within the lines of any street unless specifically authorized by other ordinances or regulations of Woolwich Township.
C. 
No sign shall be placed on any tree, electric light or public utility pole, another existing sign, or upon rocks or other nature features.
[Added 11-17-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-15]
D. 
Temporary real estate directional open house signs or temporary off premises subdivision locations signs for subdivisions or properties outside the boundaries of the Township of Woolwich are not allowed. Any such signs will be removed and are subject to fines as stated is § 203-80D(9).
[Amended 11-17-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-15]
(1) 
Temporary off-premises subdivision location signs.
(a) 
"Temporary off-premises subdivision location signs" shall be defined as a removable, freestanding signs, to be placed on the ground, not to exceed 24 inches in height and 24 inches in width, and no higher than 36 inches above the existing grade, and shall only indicate location or directions to a residential subdivision within Woolwich Township by its approved name and provided that a building permit has been issued for the subdivision.
(b) 
No more than one temporary off-premises subdivision location sign shall be installed on any one lot or in any right of way. The maximum number of temporary off-premises subdivision location signs shall not exceed 22 signs per approved Township subdivision.
(c) 
Temporary off-premises subdivision location signs are only permissible on the weekends, specifically from 4:30 p.m. on Friday to 8:00 p.m. on Sunday.
(d) 
Temporary off-premises subdivision location signs shall not include any illumination, nor shall there be affixed thereon any balloons, streamers, or other decorative accessory.
(e) 
Temporary off-premises subdivision location signs require a sign permit from the zoning office. Such sign permit shall be accompanied by a list of locations for the posting of said signs. The fee is $10 per sign per posting.
(2) 
No more than one nonilluminated temporary sign may be installed indicating the prospective or completed sale or rental of the premises upon which it is located. This sign shall not exceed six square feet in area and four feet in height for a residential use and shall not exceed 32 square feet in area and six feet in height for a commercial or industrial district. The sign shall be removed within 14 days after consummation of a lease or sales transaction.
(3) 
Not more than two temporary ground signs may be installed advertising a subdivision which has been approved by the Township, provided that each sign does not exceed 32 square feet in area nor a height of six feet. In no case shall any such sign be located closer than 20 feet to any street line. Temporary subdivision signs shall not be permitted after residences have been erected on 75% of the lots in the subdivision or after more than 75% of the lots have been sold by the developer.
(4) 
A sign indicating site development or construction by a builder shall not exceed 32 square feet and shall be limited to one sign per street frontage. Said sign shall not exceed a height of six feet. The sign shall not be erected until final approvals are obtained from the reviewing board. The sign may remain up until the project is completed.
(5) 
The fee for each temporary sign/banner shall be $40 paid to the Township of Woolwich, except as otherwise noted herein. The Township of Woolwich shall make sure signs are removed by the applicant by the expiration of the permit, and if not so removed, the Township of Woolwich may remove the sign or signs and assess an appropriate fine. The fee for all other sign permits is $60 paid to the Township of Woolwich, except as otherwise noted herein.
(6) 
By permit from the Zoning Officer, a nonprofit group organized solely for charitable, religious, educational, civic, fraternal or athletic purposes or political organizations may place and maintain temporary signs on land it does not own to advertise a single event open to the public and held within the Township of Woolwich or the Borough of Swedesboro. Also by permit from the Zoning Officer, a nonprofit group organized solely for a charitable, religious, educational, civic, fraternal or athletic purposes or political organizations with a primary location, function or base within the Township of Woolwich or the Borough of Swedesboro may place and maintain temporary signs on land it does not own to advertise a single event open to the public to be held at a location outside the Township of Woolwich. Written consent signed by the owners of all property on which the signs are erected must be made a part of the permit application. The total area on one side of all such signs on any one lot shall not exceed 32 square feet nor a height of six feet. Such signs may be erected and maintained no more than 14 days before the public event advertised and must be removed within seven days after the public event advertised. If they are placed outside of these time frames, the Township of Woolwich may remove the signs. There shall be no permit fee for signs qualifying under this subsection. For temporary signs for a special event or public purpose, said signs shall not conceal or obstruct adjacent land uses or signs; not conflict with the principal permitted use of the site or adjoining sites; not interfere with, obstruct vision of, or distract motorists, bicyclists or pedestrians; be installed and maintained in a safe manner and be compliant with all other restrictions on size, height, and location.
(7) 
No sign shall be placed in a position that will cause danger to traffic on a street or entering a street by obscuring the view of traffic on either street. In no case shall any sign, other than an official governmental sign or functional/direction sign, be erected within the official right-of-way of any street unless specifically authorized by ordinance or regulations of the Township.
(8) 
The applications for such sign permits under the foregoing Subsections A, B and C of this § 203-80 shall each contain the following statement signed by the owner or owners of the property on which the sign is to be placed:
"We are the owners of the land on which the signs designated in this application are to be placed, and we will be responsible for their removal within the time period specified by the permit and the Woolwich Township Zoning Ordinance. In the event that such sign or signs are not removed within the time period so specified, then we hereby grant permission to the Woolwich Township Zoning Officer or his agent, or an officer of the Woolwich Township Police Department, to enter upon our property and remove said sign or signs and dispose of them as the Woolwich Township Committee directs."
(9) 
Violations and penalties. A fine not to exceed $1,000 shall be administered for any violation of the above, per sign, per day. Each additional day shall constitute a separate and distinct offense.
E. 
No sign shall be located closer than 20 feet to any street line or to any property boundary line.
[Amended 11-17-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-15]
F. 
No sign shall exceed the height of 15 feet measured from the ground beneath the sign to the highest point of such sign, except that signs attached to or forming a part of the facade of a building used for commercial or manufacturing purposes may exceed 15 feet in height, provided that such signs shall not extend above the lowest point of the roof at the facade of the building.
[Amended 11-17-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-15]
G. 
No sign shall be of a flashing, revolving, blinking, moving or animated type, or have any moving parts.
[Amended 11-17-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-15]
H. 
No sign shall have any lighting or control mechanism which may cause radio or television interference.
[Amended 11-17-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-15]
I. 
For the purposes of this chapter, a sign which is attached to or forms a part of a building or structure, or on a trailer or vehicle parked on a lot, the legend/content for which does not relate to the use or ownership of the vehicle or trailer, shall be deemed to be on the lot on which such building or structure is located.
[Amended 11-17-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-15]
J. 
Outdoor loudspeakers, amplifiers, bullhorns or noisemakers, except as used by fire and police authorities, shall not be permitted in any residential, commercial or industrial zone.
[Amended 11-17-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-15]