Township of Toms River, NJ
Ocean County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Township Council of the Township of Toms River as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Auctions and auctioneering — See Ch. 170.
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 252.
Land use and development regulations — See Ch. 348.
Signs and other objects projecting over streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 450, Art. V.
[Adopted 12-9-2008 by Ord. No. 4168-08[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance repealed former Art. I, General Regulations, adopted 11-27-1979 by Ord. No. 1884, as amended.

§ 427-1 Purpose.

The Township Council of the Township of Toms River hereby makes the following determinations:
A. 
The proliferation of signs along the streets and highways in the Township of Toms River has had and will continue to have an adverse effect on traffic safety and property and aesthetic values within the Township.
B. 
The Township Council considers the proper function of signs to be the identification of activities within the Township, and it considers that to be a proper and necessary function.
C. 
The Township Council deems it a proper exercise of the police powers granted to the municipality to control the size, location and appearance of signs so that the proper function of those signs may be accomplished without adverse effects on traffic safety and property and aesthetic values.
D. 
The criteria set forth in this article are designed to provide signs which are compatible with their surroundings, appropriate to the type of activity to which they pertain, expressive of the identity of individual proprietors and legible in the circumstances in which they are seen.
E. 
This article is intended to implement a system which encompasses all visual communication along streets and highways within Toms River Township. The term "sign" is used because of its familiarity, but the true concept of this system is better expressed in the term "street graphic."

§ 427-2 Standards and regulations.

The standards and regulations for signs and street graphics throughout Toms River Township are found in the Code chapter of the Township entitled "Chapter 348, Land Use and Development Regulations, of the Code of the Township of Toms River, New Jersey." By this article, it is proposed to register and further regulate every sign now existing or hereafter erected within the Township and to eventually require the removal of those signs which do not comply with this article and thereby fail to meet the standards established herein or in Chapter 348.

§ 427-3 Registration; permits; fees; conformance; removal; appeal; violations and penalties.

A sign permit shall be required for all signs regulated by this article, whether they presently exist or are erected in the future. The Township Council of the Township of Toms River shall appoint a Zoning Officer or his or her representative, who shall be charged with the administration and enforcement of this article.
A. 
Registration of existing signs.
(1) 
Each sign of each establishment not in the category of an exempt sign under this article shall be registered with the Zoning Officer or his or her representative within one year of the adoption of this article and the availability of registration forms. A fee of $10 shall be charged for registering the signs of each establishment, whether or not the owner demonstrates that a permit has been issued for the sign and that the sign conforms to the requirements of prior Township ordinances.
(2) 
At the time of registration, a tag shall be issued for nonexempt signs. The tag shall indicate whether or not the sign is in conformity with this article and shall be permanently and prominently affixed to the sign or displayed elsewhere on the premises so that it may be readily determined that the sign has been registered. This tag shall be the permit for existing signs.
B. 
Permits for new signs or alterations of signs.
(1) 
Any person wishing to construct or install a new sign or to alter, enlarge or otherwise change any existing sign shall apply to the Township Zoning Officer or his or her representative for a permit. No permit shall be issued unless the proposed finished sign is in conformance with Chapter 348, Land Use and Development Regulations, of the Code of the Township of Toms River, New Jersey, except as provided below. If other improvements are proposed so that a site plan application to the Planning Board or Board of Adjustment is required, or if either Board has reserved control over signs in the course of approving a site plan, the application shall be made to the appropriate Board under the general site plan regulations.
(2) 
The fee for a permit, which shall be charged in order to pay a portion of the cost of enforcement of this article and payable at the time application is made, shall be $6 for each five square feet of sign or portion thereof. The permit shall be valid for a period of three years and must be renewed at or before the expiration of the term of the permit. Fees for renewals are at the rate of $4 per each five square feet of sign area. Religious or nonprofit organizations shall be subject to the provisions of this article, but shall be exempt from the payment of any fees hereunder, and, in this regard, the status of the applicant shall be determined by the standards used for the exemption of real property from taxation.
(3) 
If, within 30 days after receipt of this permit application, the Zoning Officer or his or her representative has not issued a written denial nor provided specific or qualified approval, then the application for permit shall be deemed approved, provided that the sign conforms to the requirements of Chapter 348, Land Use and Development Regulations, of the Code of the Township of Toms River, New Jersey.
(4) 
In the event that any situation arises which is not specifically covered by this article or Chapter 348, Land Use and Development Regulations, of the Code of the Township of Toms River, New Jersey, application may be made to the Planning Board for the required sign permit. The Planning Board shall apply the precise terms of this article or Chapter 348, unless the result would be a contravention of the intent of these applicable chapters. In that event, the Planning Board shall apply standards designed to carry out the intent of these chapters as that intent is learned by analogy to the standards for other situations.
C. 
Nonconformance. Existing signs on establishments shall be determined to be nonconforming if they exceed the permissible items of information or violate regulations governing setback, area or height of signs or the number of ground signs allowed under this article.
D. 
Enforcement.
(1) 
Permitted continuance of nonconforming signs. Any sign or signs existing as of the effective date of this article which do not conform to Chapter 348, Land Use and Development Regulations, of the Code of the Township of Toms River, New Jersey, are hereby declared to be public nuisances and shall be removed within a period of five years of the adoption of this article. However, in the event that the number of items of information on the premises, as defined in Chapter 348, Land Use and Development Regulations, of the Code of the Township of Toms River, New Jersey, is brought into conformance within 18 months of the effective date of this article, one ground sign which does not conform to the height, area and setback requirements shall be allowed to remain as if conforming. This provision shall only apply to signs which do not exceed the height and/or area requirements by more than 20%. A preexisting sign which exceeds the permissible height or area by more than 20% may become a permitted nonconforming sign if the sign contains only the name of the establishment. In no case shall more than one ground sign be allowed for each establishment. Application may be made to the Zoning Officer or his or her representative for this permitted nonconforming status, and a permit shall be issued when the requirements of this section have been met. Removal of a sign which does not meet the basic requirements of this article shall terminate any rights to continue such signs without consideration of the cause of removal.
(2) 
Dangerous signs. Whenever it shall appear to the Zoning Officer or his or her representative that any sign has been constructed, erected or maintained in an unsafe, insecure, unsightly or deteriorated condition or in such other condition as to threaten the public welfare, the officer shall thereupon issue a notice in writing by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the owner of the sign or the owner of the premises upon which the sign is erected or maintained, informing such person of the condition of the unsafe, insecure, unsightly or deteriorated condition or of such other condition as to threaten the public welfare and directing him or her to make such alteration or repair as to correct or remove said condition. The time limit for compliance shall be not more than 30 days after receipt of said notice. In the event that the sign constitutes an eminent peril, the Zoning Officer or his or her representative may require immediate removal, any other provision of this article notwithstanding.
(3) 
Illegal signs erected after effective date. Whenever it comes to the attention of the Zoning Officer or his or her representative that any then-existing sign is prohibited as provided in this article or was erected subsequent to the date of this article, but not in compliance with it, the officer shall thereupon issue an order in writing to the owner of the premises upon which the sign is erected or maintained, directing such person to accomplish total removal of said sign or to modify the sign to such an extent as to make it a conforming sign complying with all requirements of this article. Removal or modification shall be completed within 30 days of receipt of said notice.
(4) 
Right of Township to remove dangerous, illegal or nonconforming signs. Any dangerous sign or any new nonexempted sign erected or installed subsequent to the effective date of this article for which a permit has not been obtained or any existing sign not registered or any sign which does not conform to this article may be removed by the Township of Toms River, following adoption of a resolution by the Township Council, if, after 30 days' written notice, the owner of the premises upon which the sign is located does not remove it or cure the violation. The cost of such removal shall become a lien against the property on which the sign is located and shall be collected by the Tax Collector in the same manner in which other municipal liens are levied and collected.
(5) 
Signs attached to telephone or utility poles forbidden. It shall be a violation of the Code of the Township of Toms River to erect, fasten or attach any sign of any nature to a telephone or utility pole or light standard. Township officials shall remove any such sign which has been attached to a telephone or utility pole or light standard. Persons who are in violation of this subsection shall be subject to a fine of not less than $200 nor more than $1,000. Any cost incurred by the Township in the removal and storage of any such signs shall be imposed upon the individual or organization claiming such signs. In no case shall the Township be responsible for signs not claimed within seven days of removal.
(6) 
Signs excluding traffic signs in the public right-of-way and in any sight triangle of an intersection forbidden. It shall be a violation of the Code of the Township of Toms River to erect or install any signs excluding traffic signs in the public right-of-way or in any sight triangle, at an intersection as defined in Chapter 348, Land Use and Development Regulations. Persons who are in violation of this subsection shall be subject to a fine of not less than $200 nor more than $1,000. Township officials may remove any such signs which have been erected in the public right-of-way in the sight triangle of any intersection. Any costs incurred by the Township in the removal and storage of any such sign(s) shall be imposed upon the person(s) claiming such sign. In no case shall the Township be responsible for signs not claimed within seven days of removal.
(7) 
Signs on Township property forbidden. It shall be a violation of the Code of the Township of Toms River for any person to place any signs on Township property unless authorized to do so by the Township Administrator. Persons who are in violation of this subsection shall be subject to a fine of not less than $200 nor more than $1,000. Any costs incurred by the Township in the removal and storage of any such sign(s) shall be imposed upon the person(s) claiming such sign. In no case shall the Township be responsible for signs not claimed within seven days of removal.
E. 
Appeal.
(1) 
Any owner of a sign or of land upon which a sign is located may appeal any ruling or determination made by the Zoning Officer or his or her representative to the Zoning Board or make application for an exception directly to the Zoning Board. The Zoning Board, when acting on such an appeal or application, either considered alone or as part of a site plan application, shall have the power to grant such exceptions from the strict requirements of this article as may be reasonable and within the general purpose and intent of the provisions of this article if the literal enforcement of one or more provisions of this article is impracticable or will create undue hardship because of peculiar conditions pertaining to the land in question.
(2) 
Notice of the application or appeal shall be given by the applicant to the owners of all properties on the same side of the street on which the sign is proposed or located, which properties are located within 50 feet of the property concerning which the application is made. The notice shall be in writing, sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, and sent at least 10 days prior to the hearing.
(3) 
The filing of an appeal shall act as a stay of any order by the Zoning Officer or his or her representative to remove a sign, and no determination by the Zoning Board that a sign be removed shall be carried out until more than 15 days have elapsed after the appeal determination. In the event that the Zoning Board shall fail to act within 65 days of the filing of the appeal or of the application, the relief sought shall be deemed to have been granted.
(4) 
In cases in which the Board of Adjustment has jurisdiction over site plans, the above procedures shall apply to it.
F. 
Notice. Any notice required to be given under this article may be given in writing by certified mail, if not given by personal service or by posting a copy of said notice on said premises upon which the sign is erected or maintained. In the event that service is made by mail upon the owner of the premises, service shall be effective 10 days after the certified letter is deposited in the mail with sufficient postage, addressed to the person listed as owner at the address shown on the latest tax records of the municipality.
G. 
Penalty. In addition to the foregoing provisions, a complaint for each violation of this article in erecting and maintaining each nonconforming sign shall be punishable in the Municipal Court by fines as set forth below. Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate a provision of this article or fail to comply therewith shall, jointly or severally, for each and every such violation and noncompliance, pay a fine not to exceed the sum of $500. Proceedings under this section shall not, in any way, prevent the Zoning Officer or his or her representative from proceeding to remove the sign under other provisions outlined herein.

§ 427-4 Compatibility with state and federal regulations; higher standards.

All signs shall, in addition to complying with this article, comply with all appropriate state and federal regulations. Should this article be in conflict with any state or federal regulations, the more stringent regulations shall apply.

§ 427-5 Political signs.

[Amended 4-25-2017 by Ord. No. 4545-17]
Political signs are permitted for period of commencing 30 days prior to the election and seven days subsequent to the election. No political sign shall be attached or affixed to any telephone pole, utility pole or light standards. No political sign shall be placed in the public right-of-way of any roadway or in the sight triangle of an intersection as defined in Chapter 348, Land Use and Development Regulations. Violations of this provision shall be subject to the penalty enumerated in § 427-3D(5), (6) and (7) of the Code. Any political signs which are placed in violation of these regulations shall be removed by the Township officials at the expense of the person or political organization who so located the sign.
[Adopted 12-9-2008 by Ord. No. 4168-08[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance repealed former Art. II, Memorial Signs: Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, adopted 8-13-2002 by Ord. No. 3715-02.

§ 427-6 Purpose.

The purpose of the within article is to remember those individuals who have lost their lives as a result of a drunk driver and to allow the posting of a MADD sign to memorialize the individual lost and warn the driving public of the dangers imposed by driving while intoxicated.

§ 427-7 Authorization.

The within article authorizes the installation of a MADD sign along the Township's rights-of-way. The individual requesting the memorial sign shall pay the actual costs incurred by the Township for acquiring said sign. The Township shall install said sign at no charge to the individual on a breakaway signpost. The sign shall be white in color with a red broken heart and bear the words "We'll Remember You," which signifies the tremendous loss felt by family and friends. It also bears the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers logo. An additional sign above bears the name of the victim being memorialized.