A group of Washington Township business owners seeking to draw more customers are hoping to spruce up their storefronts with eye-catching signs, but a local ordinance mandates most signs must be uniform.
According to Ada Gazzillo of , she and her husband Vincent had planned to write "Trattoria" in red letters after getting permission from the landlord. They later had to take the offending word down because it violated an ordinance limiting all signs in the to one color. The restaurant is currently just labeled "Vincent's."
"I'm frustrated," Gazzillo said. "No one is coming to the strip mall."
Businesses are limited by both their landlord and the local ordinance. In the Washington Town Center, businesses also must obey an ordinance from 1997 that only governs the strip mall. The ordinance limits letters to a maximum of 24 inches in height. The lettering must be in "complimentary fonts" chosen by the center's owner and all the signs must be the same color, which Vincent's violated.
An exception to the ordinance was made for the .
The Gazzillos are not alone in their frustration. Terry Kipriadis, the owner of , is also to attract more customers. Kipriadis previously told Patch she hoped to organize the other township business owners to put on events and make the area more appealing.
"I'm hoping that strength in numbers will entice the town to take action and create awareness in the community and neighboring towns," Kipriadis previously said.
John Azarian, the managing and leasing agent for Washington Town Center, attended the Washington Township Council's meeting Monday. Azarian asked that the council consider changing the ordinance to allow more variety and also requested temporary signs be allowed, including real estate signs to advertise the 14 currently available spaces in the strip mall.
Similar signs from Gyros and Goodies and placed along Pascack Road have drawn criticism from some residents.
Township officials said they would have planner Stan Slachetka take a look at the ordinance to suggest possible changes before their next meeting.
"We're trying to not be the restricting party," Council President Richard Hrbek said.