The judge who will decide the fate of the 600-foot LED billboard on the Margate Causeway will have additional documents to review on Thursday before making his final decision.
And the billboard cannot be turned on until that decision is made.
Egg Harbor Township has until Thursday to submit its final documents on the case, said attorney Steve Hankin, who represents the Northfield family that seeks to shut the billboard down. The documents will provide further explanation that the billboard is allowed in a Marine Commercial District under township laws and that more than one business is allowed in the district. There is a marina located on the causeway next to the site of the billboard.
The township approved the sign in early 2011, but the structure was shut down June 1, 2011, after nearby Northfield residents complained about the powerful nighttime glow and state Department of Environmental Protection officials ruled it had been improperly built on wetlands.
Its owner, Jersey Outdoor Media, proposed to move the billboard to another part of the property, and Egg Harbor Township's Planning Board agreed to the proposal in March.
Hankin, who represents Northfield couple Richard and Deborah Levitt, said Superior Court Judge Julio Mendez will review these documents and any response Hankin will maker and then make a decision. He will also consider whether the billboard conflicts with the township's overall master plan and whether the Planning Board properly interpreted an ordinance requiring a buffer between billboards.
The billboard has been shut down since June 1, 2012, and Mendez ruled last week not to let the billboard be turned back on until he makes his final decision. A motion made earlier this month by Outdoor Media attorney Peter J. Boyer sought to turn it back on.
Boyer declined to discuss that motion and said the company is eagerly anticipating the matter’s conclusion.
“It’s back to the judge. We’re awaiting his ruling and (will) see what our next steps are,” he said.
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