Beach Haven Cracking Down on ‘Nuisance’ Lighting

Feb 21, 2018

Saying it needs to keep up with the latest trends in illumination technology, the Beach Haven Borough Council introduced an ordinance that will outlaw neon, flashing, digital and animated signs.

Introduced at a Feb. 13 meeting, the ordinance will permit lighted signs not to exceed 35 square feet in area.

“Additionally, no lighted sign shall produce a strong, dazzling light or reflection of a strong, dazzling light or glare beyond property lines,” the ordinance said. “Lighted signs shall be shielded, buffered and directed so that glare, direct light or reflection will not become a nuisance to adjoining properties, adjoining dwelling units, adjoining districts or streets.”

According to the ordinance, directional signs not exceeding two square feet for specific buildings, driveways and off-street parking areas may be provided at the entrance to any such building, driveway or parking area.

In the ordinance, neon signs are defined as those illuminated by a neon tube or other visible light-emanating gas tube, that is bent to form letters, symbols or other graphics. “A neon sign spelling out the word ‘open,’ which is placed indoors as in a manner which can be read from the exterior through a window, is exempt.”

An animated sign is one ”depicting action, motion or light or color changes through electrical or mechanical means.” Digital signs “are made up of internally illuminated components capable of changing the message periodically.”

A flashing sign is one “whose artificial illumination is not kept constant in intensity at all times when in use and which exhibits changes in light, color, direction or animation.”

“These stronger lights can be a nuisance to people in residential areas who live near them,” said Mayor Nancy Taggart Davis.

Another ordinance defines “light trespass” on to an adjoining property as a prohibited nuisance. It states light trespass is “any form of artificial illuminance emanating from a light fixture, light source or illuminated sign, whether internally or externally illuminated, that penetrates another property and creates a nuisance.”

The measure said that maximum vertical illumination, when measured at a point five feet within the adjacent property line at a height of five feet and facing the light source, shall be no greater than 1.00 vertical foot candle on to adjacent properties.

“Outdoor light fixtures shall be directed so that there will not be any objectionable direct glare source visible above a height of five feet from any property or public roadway,” the ordinance said.

A public hearing on both ordinances is scheduled for the council’s next meeting on Monday, March 12 at 7 p.m.

—Eric Englund

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