Letter to the editor: Denville Board of Adjustment hearing Billboard on Route 10

parsippany focus

parsippany focusDear Editor:

On Wednesday, March 6 at 7:00 p.m. in  Town Hall Council Chambers the Denville Township Board of Adjustment will continue the public  hearing  for an application with major changes to the large billboard on the Pelican property at the congested intersection of Route 10 west. (Note: Pelican is not the applicant) Several key variances are needed by the sign owner applicant. The public is invited to come out to observe and speak. You don’t have to live in Denville to come out or speak. These approvals are needed before NJDOT can grant a permit.

There are several zoning variances to be considered by the Board of Adjustment. …not necessarily approved…

  1. The present traditional  billboard is considered static despite its periodic signage changes. The new billboard will be LED, such as a large TV screen with constant changing and moving scenes. The present bight billboard is only lit dusk to dawn. The new billboard will be in colored motion glowing 24 hours a day, rain or shine, fog or snowstorm, 365 days a year in both directions. It will not be a quick read, but repeated review of new  pictures and words as it changes constantly.
  2. For those living in Denville and Parsippany and can see the present billboard it is 32 feet high with a variance requested for it to go up another 20 feet at 57 feet towering above the trees and Route 10 buildings in order for it to be seen further. Note: Residents  were not noticed, because you do not live close enough. The Historic District on Route 10 and Cooper Road was not noticed due to required distance also.
  3. The proposal includes an increase in the square footage size of the present  billboard on both sides. Again making it more visible.
  4. The fourth variance requests the billboard move forward making it  6 [six] feet from Route 10 west at the intersection of two jug handles, Pelican driveway, a traffic light, and a strip mall, etc……This dangerous location needs no more distractions. Commuters sit in congestion coming east and west. The rule at the light is don’t move too quickly as someone is about to run the light as it changes. Frequently, the intersection is blocked with cars that did not make it. With multiple turns and lane changes another distraction this close to the intersection is another dangerous diversion. This sign will be seen from the bend in Route 10 in the eastbound lane around the Shoppes of Union Hill and as far back in the west bound lane before light at Gibraltar Drive in Parsippany. This area already has many accidents reported by multiple law enforcement agencies. Speeding is an issue. Drivers watch for lane changers, frequent turners, traffic light changes and those who ignore the lights  … will now  hope the drivers surrounding them will not be taking in screen time outside the car. The eastbound lane is known for ice flows and black ice and sun glare.

Route 10 in Denville used to have less traffic and more trees. That character is slowly eroding. There is still dedicated open space and a historic district along Route 10 in Denville and residents from Denville and Parsippany live in close proximity. These approvals could open up Route 10 for more such modern electronic devices. Many areas of the state are in fact protected from these billboards and their proliferation. Much has been written about their impact on a whole range of things from wildlife to senior sight. But no one can debate the purpose of these new billboards …to get your attention repeatedly. What does that mean?? ….taking your eyes off the road over and over again. In this intersection it means missing the sudden stop…the turner…the light…the speeder…the lane changer…traffic slowing… the black ice…adjusting from sun glare and dark skies…How do you make a dangerous intersection and the unpredictable  areas in both directions leading up to it more dangerous? Add another distraction! If you travel or live near Route 10 you know these approvals will cause havoc.

Sue Schmidt

Editors Note: The Denville Municipal Building is located at 1 St. Marys Place.

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