Friday, April 21, 2017


The Township Committee gave final approval this week to new real estate sign regulations that give agents a bit more flexibility, but not as much as they want.

The TC voted, 5-0, on an ordinance that alters current rules slightly.

At issue are two current limits in the Township signage ordinance that regulate the traditional 'For Sale' signs placed in front of marketed homes.

The first limit only allows such properties to be promoted as "For Sale," "For Rent," and "Under Contract." These are usually placed in what are known as "riders," the small, additional part of the sign either placed on the top or hanging at the bottom of the main sign.

They also allow "Open House" riders, but only during the time of the open house.

In recent years, however, realtors have added riders that promote the property as "Coming Soon," and even "Coming Soonish." These are placed before the property is formally for sale and as a way to garner attention sooner. But they are in violation of the current ordinance.

The second restriction allows only one such rider to be added to a sign, a limit that is violated often in Maplewood.

The ordinance approved Tuesday expands the rider limit from one to two per sign. 

But the limits on the wording used to promote the property did not change to add "Coming Soon" or other options because the Township believes that would allow too many signs when they are not needed.

Several real estate agents who attended Tuesday's meeting urged that the regulations be loosened further to allow more riders and other phrases.

Mark Slade, an agent at Keller Williams, presented a petition asking for further changes to the proposed ordinance and suggested allowing Coming Soon to be included with a 30-day limit. He said it had garnered 105 signatures. 

"We would appreciate any consideration of the Township, we are not trying to be difficult," Slade said.

Michael Pennisi, a Coldwell Banker realtor, added, "Coming Soon is actually a marketing strategy. Taking that away hurts the seller's ability to market a home."

Mayor Vic Deluca pointed out that the TC had given some leeway with the rider change, stating, "Coming Soon is not permitted so all of you should go back to your offices and have your agents take down the Coming Soon."

But the mayor and others on the governing body said they would be open to further changes, noting that the Township Code Enforcement Committee would be meeting on May 3 and agents could come to the meeting to discuss more changes.

"If this is just phase one and there is a second phase I would be in favor of that," TC Member Frank McGehee said.

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