A judge has ordered the owners of a controversial LED billboard on the Margate Causeway to halt operation by June 1 while a lawsuit makes its way through the courts.

Friday’s injunction comes after the state Department of Environmental Protection last month cited Jersey Outdoor Media for “unauthorized development activities within the coastal zone” and “within a coastal wetland.”

Both the LED and conventional signs on the billboard must be shut down.

Jersey Outdoor Media leases the land for the billboard from Hackney’s Boat Yard Inc.

Richard Levitt, of Northfield, filed a lawsuit in April alleging Moorestown, Burlington County-based Jersey Outdoor Media filled in wetlands prior to receiving a minor site plan approval for the site from Egg Harbor Township planners.

The suit also alleges that the billboard was constructed at 60 feet, taller than permitted by zoning regulation; that the billboard violated a township zoning requirement that billboards must be at least 1,000 feet apart; and that the light from the LED billboard ruins his “quiet enjoyment” of his bayside home.

“This (decision) confirms what we’re saying, that the sign has been operating without the necessary permits,” said Levitt, who is chairman of the Northfield Planning Board. “We are delighted with the judge’s decision.”

Stephen Hankin, Levitt’s attorney, said the judge’s ruling also allows his client access to the site to conduct soil tests. The decision paves the way for a discovery phase and the pursuit of reimbursement of legal fees, he said.

“The major thing we sought has been granted,” he said, noting that he’s confident the courts will eventually order the entire billboard to be taken down.

The owners of Jersey Outdoor Media and Hackney’s Boat Yard did not respond to requests for comment Friday.

Contact Wallace McKelvey:

609-272-7256

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