At the Hopewell Township planning board meeting last night, representatives from the Hopewell Valley Regional School District (HVRSD) and Hopewell Valley Central High School (HVCHS) brought a proposed plan for the installation of a 32 square foot LED light sign to be placed on the corner at the intersection of Washington Crossing-Pennington Road and Timberlane Drive.
Michael Daher, HVCHS Principal, explained that they are looking to replace the current sign with an electronic one to announce events upcoming school events and promote school spirit with information like athletic or scholarship awards and teacher of the year.
The current non-electric sign is very close to the high school with visibility only from the teacher’s parking lot, according to Daher.
The proposed sign would be substantially larger and closer to the road with a digitally displayed message changing every 5 seconds.
Many planning board members expressed concern about driver distraction and the location and size of the sign, along with the frequency of the scrolling messages.
Bill Connolly, the Chair of the Township board of adjustments (zoning) but appearing as a member of the public, thought the proposed sign was garish, stating, “I don’t know what you need to communicate but I don’t think it necessitates this.” While Harvey Lester expressed that needing to have a sign that big is “a little obnoxious.”
The planning board requested specific light sensitive dimming levels without animation or white background to avoid glare and distraction. Instead of 5 second interval between messages, the planning board recommends 5 messages per hour to avoid appearing as a “flickering sign” which is not permitted in the Township. Further, the sign will shut automatically every night at 10:30pm.
With regard to the size, the planning board requested a smaller 20 square foot sign, which would comply with the rules for single-use commercial property owner. Should this condition be met, along with an attempt to minimize the height of the sign to the great extent possible, then the planning board would not request a change in location from the proposed corner.
While the school board is not technically bound by the Township’s land use ordinances, representatives agreed to comply with conditions the planning board provided.
So, it looks like this is a sign of things to come for our Bulldogs!