Barnegat Unveils Updated Sign Ordinance

Election signs are just one type of the signs that can no longer be placed on public property. (Photo by Stephanie Faughnan)

BARNEGAT – Signs of all types are now officially banned from placement on public property and within public right of ways in the local municipality.

A referendum on last November’s ballot asked voters to weigh in on whether the Township of Barnegat should adopt regulations prohibiting the placement of signs of public property and within the public right-of-way within the Township.

Nearly 70 percent of the 7771 ballots cast in the election showed that voters were in favor of cleaning up the sign ordinance that failed to limit signs.

Barnegat’s sign ordinance was originally adopted in 1997 and divides its rules by areas designated east and west of the Garden State Parkway.  As of this month, only signs erected by duly constituted governmental bodies can be placed on public property east of the parkway.

The same prohibition applies to signs put up on public property west of the parkway, and also includes a sign ban within public rights of way. West of the parkway, temporary signs and banners of a noncommercial nature across the right of way are permitted as an exception by the Zoning Board with permission from the Township Committee.

While a proliferation of signs generally occurs during election season, the amendments to the sign ordinance don’t just pertain to political signs. Garage sale signs or business advertisements are among the other types of signs prohibited from public property.

“This only pertains to signs on public property,” stressed Township Attorney Christopher “Chris” Dasti. “People are still able to do anything they want on their own property.”

Meanwhile, that’s not necessarily the case for many residents who live in the multiple retirement communities within Barnegat.

Lost dog signs should not be placed on public property. (Photo by Stephanie Faughnan)

Homeowners Association rules may place restrictions on the placement of signs on personal property.  Rather than lawn signs, residents may find themselves limited to placing signs within the interior windows of their homes. This includes both residential real estate sales signs as well as those advocating for political candidates.

The old adage that signs don’t vote could well be tested with the new sign ordinance. While signs cost money, some see the ban as creating an unfair advantage to incumbent representatives.

Neither party running for township committee put up signs during this past election cycle. Nonetheless, hundreds, if not thousands of signs for those seeking a spot on the school board made their way on public property through the November election.