Borough of Alpine, NJ
Bergen County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Alpine as Ch. XX (Ord. No. 410) of the 1970 Revised General Ordinances. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 195.
Zoning — See Ch. 220.

§ 177-1 Short title.

This chapter may be cited as the "Sign Ordinance of the Borough of Alpine."

§ 177-2 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
GROUND SIGN
Any sign supported by uprights or braces placed upon the ground independent of any other structure.
[Amended 6-24-2009 by Ord. No. 702]
ILLUMINATED SIGN
Any sign which has characters, letters, figures, designs or outlines illuminated by electric lights or luminous tubes as a part of the sign proper.
[Amended 6-24-2009 by Ord. No. 702]
PERSON
Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization of any kind.
SIGN
Any announcement, declaration, demonstration, display, illustration or insignia used to advertise or promote the interests of any person, firm or corporation when the same is placed out-of-doors in view of the general public or when of a permanent nature and placed within the window of a commercial or other structure so as to be visible to persons from the outside of such structure for the purposes aforesaid whether called a sign, billboard, ground sign, wall sign, roof sign, sign painted on the exterior of a building or structure, illuminated sign, projecting sign, temporary sign, or sign on awnings and canopies.
[Amended 6-24-2009 by Ord. No. 702]
SIGN AREA
The total area of the entire sign, including border and embellishments, but excluding supports on which there is displayed neither advertising matter nor lighting. For signs which are not rectangular in shape, the area shall be calculated by the smallest trapezoidal shape, four-sided, which completely encloses the sign.
TEMPORARY SIGN
Any sign which is intended to be displayed for a short period of time not in excess of 180 days, and shall include any sign, banner, pennant, flag or advertising display constructed of cloth, canvas, light fabric, cardboard display, wallboard or other light material with or without frames.

§ 177-3 Sign regulations.

A. 
Permitted signs. Upon receipt of a duly issued permit as provided herein, the following signs may be erected:
(1) 
In the R-4 Zone. One ground sign for an existing, nonconforming nonresidential use, provided the sign shall not exceed nine square feet or three feet on a side. In the event there are two existing, nonconforming nonresidential uses on the premises, one general directory ground sign shall be permitted which shall not exceed 12 square feet or four feet on a side. The sign shall only identify the nonresidential occupants of the premises. The bottom height of a sign shall not exceed three feet six inches above ground surface. No sign shall be illuminated from within nor by illumination affixed to the sign or structure from which the sign is suspended. No sign shall be illuminated between the hours of 10:00 p.m. local time each day and 6:00 a.m. local time the following day. No sign shall be erected closer than 10 feet to any property line. The sign must be located on the lot on which the occupants are located.
[Amended 6-24-2009 by Ord. No. 702]
(2) 
In the R-R Zone. Two identification or directional signs, provided that each sign does not exceed six square feet in area and does not exceed a height of eight feet above ground level. The sign or signs shall be affixed to the entrance gate or wall and shall not project more than six inches from the gate or wall.
(3) 
In any zone. One temporary nonilluminated ground sign identifying owners or general contractors working on a principal structure in the process of completion. Such sign shall not exceed four square feet or two feet on a side. The maximum height shall be four feet. Such sign shall be removed within two weeks after completion of the work or the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, whichever is sooner. Such sign shall be erected within the lot lines of the property where the work is being performed.
[Amended 6-24-2009 by Ord. No. 702]
B. 
Permitted signs not requiring permits or fees. The provisions and regulations of this chapter concerning permits and fees shall not apply to the following signs:
[Amended by Ord. No. 468; Ord. No. 483]
(1) 
Political signs. In any zone, one nonilluminated temporary political ground sign erected on private property in connection with a political cause or a general, primary or special election or referendum. In residential zones, a political sign shall not exceed eight square feet or four feet on a side. The maximum height shall not exceed six feet from the ground level. No such sign shall be erected within 15 feet of the edge of the pavement of an improved street abutting the property or if there is a curb on an improved street abutting the property then within 15 feet of the property side of the curb or if the property does not abut an improved street then within 15 feet of the edge of an unimproved street abutting the property. Such signs shall be removed within seven days following the date of the political event, the election or referendum. No such signs shall be located in the public right-of-way or on public property.
[Amended 6-24-2009 by Ord. No. 702]
(2) 
Real estate signs. In any zone, one nonilluminated temporary real estate ground sign, identifying the property upon which it is located as being for rent or for sale. Such sign shall not exceed four square feet or two feet on a side. The maximum height shall be four feet. No such sign shall be erected within 10 feet of the property line. Such sign shall be removed by the owner or the person erecting the same within two days after the sale, lease or other withdrawal of the property from the market.
(3) 
Signs for name and address of owner.
(a) 
In any residence zone. One sign which shall have an area of not more than two square feet, identifying the name and/or address of the house, or owner or lessee of the premises upon which the sign is located, and provided such sign has an area of not more than two square feet and is attached to the dwelling or to a post or other supporting device at a bottom height not to exceed six feet from the ground level.
(b) 
In an R-4 Zone. If there are two residences on the premises, one sign, which shall have an area of not more than three square feet, identifying the names and/or addresses of the house, or owners or lessees of the premises on which the sign is located.
[Amended 6-24-2009 by Ord. No. 702]
(c) 
No sign shall be illuminated, except that illumination primarily serving some purpose other than the illumination of the sign shall not be deemed illumination of the sign.
(4) 
Other signs.
(a) 
Municipal signs, traffic signs, legal notices, danger and such temporary emergency or nonadvertising signs as may be approved by the Borough Council.
(b) 
Official signs erected by the municipality, county, state or federal government.
[Amended 6-24-2009 by Ord. No. 702]
(c) 
Bulletin boards or signs not over 16 square feet or four feet on a side for public, charitable or religious institutions when the same are located on the premises of such institution.
(d) 
Memorial signs or tablets, name of buildings and dates of erection when cut into any masonry surface or when constructed of bronze or other incombustible materials.
(e) 
Directional ground signs located on the premises of a permitted use not exceeding one square foot in area may be used for a driveway entrance or exit or direction to parking areas. Not more than two such signs shall be permitted.
(f) 
Professional nameplates not exceeding six inches in height nor 18 inches in length for lawful occupants of the premises under Chapter 220, Zoning.
(g) 
Garage sale signs or personal property sale signs not to exceed four square feet or two feet on a side. The maximum height shall be four feet. No such sign shall be erected within 10 feet of the property line. Such sign shall be removed within two days after the sale. Such signs must be located on the premises on which the sale is occurring.
[Amended 6-24-2009 by Ord. No. 702]
(5) 
Flags. Flags of the United States, the State of New Jersey or other governmental or quasi-public agencies.
C. 
Prohibited signs. The following signs shall be prohibited in the borough:
(1) 
Signs using the colors red, amber or green either in direct illumination or in high reflection by the use of special preparation such as fluorescent paint or glass.
(2) 
Any sign visible from a public right-of-way which uses an arrow or the word "Stop," excepting highway directional signs erected by public agencies.
(3) 
Any sign of which all or any part thereof is in motion.
(4) 
Any sign displaying flashing or intermittent lights.
(5) 
Any sign that interferes with or obscures a sign erected by a public agency, traffic instructions or directions or other public information.
(6) 
Signs with more than two display surfaces, sides or faces such as hinged, triangular or box signs.
(7) 
Signs which are attached to or within 24 inches of a window, and contain an area greater than 20% of such window area.
(8) 
Signs posted on poles, posts, trees, sidewalks or curbs or on any borough property in any fashion.
(9) 
Billboards of any kind.
[Added 6-24-2009 by Ord. No. 702]
(10) 
Roof signs or signs which extend above the highest elevation of the wall to which they are attached.
[Added 6-24-2009 by Ord. No. 702]
(11) 
Sequential signs.
[Added 6-24-2009 by Ord. No. 702]
(12) 
Balloon signs.
[Added 6-24-2009 by Ord. No. 702]
(13) 
Any sign not specifically permitted by this chapter.
[Added 6-24-2009 by Ord. No. 702]
D. 
Annual inspection. All signs may be inspected annually by the Building Inspector for the purpose of ascertaining whether the same are secure or in need of removal, repair or repainting.
E. 
Unsafe and illegal signs. If the Building Inspector shall find that any sign is unsafe, insecure, in need of repair or violates any of the provisions of this chapter or of a permit granted for the erection thereof, (s)he shall give written notice to the permittee, owner or lessee thereof or the person having the beneficial use of the premises, building or structure upon which such sign may be found. If such person fails to remove, alter or repair it within 24 hours after such notice, such sign may be removed, altered or repaired by the Building Inspector at the expense of such person.
[Amended by Ord. No. 468]
F. 
Removal of signs. Any sign now or hereafter existing which no longer advertises a bona fide business being conducted shall be taken down and removed by the permittee, owner or lessee thereof or person having the beneficial use of the building, premises or structure upon which such sign may be found within 10 days after written notification from the Building Inspector and, upon failure to comply with such notice within the time specified in such order, the Building Inspector is hereby authorized to cause removal of such sign, and any expense incident thereto shall be paid by such person.

§ 177-4 Sign permit.

A. 
Required. Except as otherwise set forth herein, it shall be unlawful for any person to erect, alter, relocate or maintain within the borough any sign as defined in this chapter without first making application for, and obtaining, a sign permit from the Building Inspector.
B. 
Permits and applications.
(1) 
Fee; information required. An application with signed permit shall be made by the owner of the premises and the person responsible for the erection of the signing, and both shall be responsible for compliance with this section. The application, accompanied by a fee of $50 per $1,000 estimated cost of work for each permanent sign, provided that the minimum fee is $200 and $100 for a temporary sign, shall be made to the Building Inspector and shall contain the following information:
[Amended 4-23-2008 by Ord. No. 680; 4-22-2015 by Ord. No. 754]
(a) 
Name, address and telephone number of the owner or the occupant of the premises and the name of the person, firm, corporation or association erecting the sign, and both shall be considered applicants.
(b) 
Location of building, structure or lot to which, or upon which, the sign is to be attached or erected.
(c) 
Position of the sign in relation to nearby buildings or structures, sidewalks and streets.
(d) 
Such other information as the Building Inspector shall require to show full compliance with the section.
(2) 
Examination by Building Inspector; issuance. The Building Inspector shall examine the application and the premises upon which the sign is to be erected, and, if it shall appear that the proposed structure is in compliance with all the requirements of this section and all other laws and ordinances of the borough, the Building Inspector shall then issue the sign permit. The sign permit shall be issued or denied within 45 days of the date of application. If the Building Inspector shall not act within 45 days, the sign permit shall be deemed to have been granted.
(3) 
Time limit on work. If the work authorized under a sign permit has not been completed within 180 days after the date of issuance, the permit shall become null and void.
C. 
Permits revocable. The Building Inspector is hereby authorized and empowered to revoke any permit issued by him/her upon failure of the holder thereof to comply with any provisions of this chapter, and all permits shall contain a provision to this effect.

§ 177-5 Appeal.

Any person aggrieved by any decision of the Building Inspector in conjunction with the enforcement of this chapter may appeal to the Mayor and Council by filing an appeal, in writing, with the Borough Clerk within 30 days, at which time the Mayor and Council will provide the appellant with an opportunity to be heard. The Mayor and Council will hear such appeal within 30 days of the filing thereof and shall decide such appeal within 60 days of the hearing. If no decision is made within such period the appeal shall be considered denied.