Lyndhurst Beautification Commission recommends strict garage sale, business-signage guidelines

Tired of seeing garish commercial signs, unseemly shop awnings or out-of-control flea markets?

Well, the Lyndhurst Beautification Commission is, too, and it’s going to do something about it.

Mayor Robert Giangeruso has given the LBC a mission: to review township ordinance detailing regulations touching on cleanliness, aesthetics and overall quality of life issues.

High on that list of attention-grabbing issues is the proliferation of often-messy garage sales.

“Unregulated garage or yard sales has become a growing problem for the township,” Giangeruso said.

“Some of the larger problems we face, beside the fact that many [people] fail to take out a permit, is that people are using their sidewalk and tree belt to display items for sale,” the mayor said.

“Also,” he continued, “we receive complaints from neighbors who say that some are having yard sales every few weeks, which detracts from the peace of the neighborhood and causes parking issues for residents.”

Here’s what the commission has recommended to the township Board of Commissioners:

  • Limit the number of sales to three per year.
  • Limit the sales to weekends exclusively.
  • Limit the hours of sales from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Define the area in which items can be placed, limiting it to the garage and driveway, or yard if no carport exists.
  • Impose a fine of no less than $150 for failure to apply for a permit and/or failure to remove and discard advertising signs placed anywhere on private property. The $5 permit application fee is to be waived.

If these recommendations are adopted by the governing body, it will be “a great first step toward cleaning up our township and regulating something that has become out of control,” said LBC member Jackie McKeever.

As the mayor has noted, McKeever said, “we understand that families use a garage or yard sale as a way to clean out their home of toys, older electronics, furniture, etc., and can enjoy turning those items into cash. But we cannot allow it to become a business, nor can we allow it to disrupt neighborhoods and litter our streets with unsightly signs.”

Another idea being considered is organizing a township-wide garage/yard sale day — modeled after such programs in area communities like Rutherford and Kearny — in which the township can assist homeowners by advertising the day and increasing sales volumes while helping to decrease the need for sales throughout the year.

A Saturday in September is being contemplated for such a purpose.

An amended ordinance is expected to be introduced by the Board of Commissioners this fall. In the interim, homeowners are reminded to continue to apply for permits to conduct sales. Applications may be filled out at the township clerk’s office at 253 Stuyvesant Ave. between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The commission has come up with several proposed changes to the township signs ordinance. For instance, businesses grandfathered to original signs that become refaced, tattered or worn would no longer be permitted to “re-wrap” original awnings unless they conform to the amended ordinance.

Similarly, a change of business ownership resulting in modification of or new awning would no longer be exempted from the regulations and any replacement awnings would have to conform to a “visage/traditional style awning structure with canvas wrap and specified uniform colors which may be silver, gold, forest green, black, burgundy, brown or dark blue and lettering may be white.

The Lyndhurst Beautification Commission is recommending that wall-mounted signs “shall not consist of individual or connected lettering that is not attached to a flush wall mounted sign” and that all such signs “shall be illuminated with gooseneck lighting only.”

And the commission has proposed to “extinguish all interior LED window lighting, ‘Open’ or any other neon or LED-lighted sign lights placed on windows or lighted window wrapping.”

Kevin Canessa | Journalist & Webmaster

Kevin Canessa Jr. is a journalist and webmaster at The Observer. He is responsible for the editorial content on the newspaper's website, the production of the e-Edition, covering the Nutley Police Department and more behind the scenes. From 2006 to 2008, he served as the editor of The Observer, where he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video for the very first time. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Fla., for four years until February 2016 and in 2016, moved back to Kearny to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.