Lehigh Valley Live By Rudy Miller May 27, 2017
NJ -Palmer Township officials want to keep digital billboards away from homes and make sure they stay dim at night before any more go up.
They’re near the end of rewriting the township’s digital billboard regulations, according to township supervisors chairman Dave Colver.
A digital billboard is proposed behind Hess Wood Recycling at 2357 Newlins Mill Road, but the developer has agreed to wait until the revised rules are adopted. They’re supposed to be ready by June or July, Colver said.
The township’s original ordinance governing digital billboards was scrapped after a long courtroom battle with neighbors.
Charles Diefenderfer and residents in the 2900 block of Hay Terrace said the supervisors never should have allowed digital billboards to remain lit 24 hours a day. They said a billboard across Route 22 from their homes was so bright they couldn’t sleep.
Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court agreed. So the judges decided Nov. 10, 2015, to scrap the township’s billboard ordinance altogether.
Diefenderfer was unsuccessful in getting the digital billboard turned off from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Instead, the owner agreed to dim the lights at night.
“It’s better,” he said. “You can still see it at night but it’s not as imposing.”
He said trees and bushes block the sign for some of the neighbors but everyone suffers in the winter when the trees are bare.
Once a litigant against the township, now Diefenderfer has pored over the revised ordinance and offered his advice to make it better.
Colver said the new ordinance will better protect residents. The billboard on Route 22 is in an area zoned light industrial, but happens to be directly across Route 22 from an area zoned residential.
The billboard proposed behind Hess Wood Recycling wouldn’t be near any homes, he said.
The new ordinance will require the digital billboard to be dimmed at night. Diefenderfer also wants to make sure billboards aren’t too close together.
Colver said Diefenderfer’s input has been valuable.
“It’s not really been a contentious situation,” he said.