Kearny, NJ threatened owner with $1K fine for announcing granddaughter’s birth
KEARNY — The threat of a $1,000 a day fine over a professionally-made banner announcing the arrival of a longtime local businesswoman's granddaughter has now led town officials to move toward changing the local rules.
Bernadette Antonelli previously said in a letter to the editor of The Observer, that the notice she received from the local zoning official after hanging an “It’s a Girl” banner outside her business was "the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of in my 36 years as a business and property owner."
Antonelli has owned and operated Arlington Tax and Bookkeeping Service in Kearny since 1985.
After hanging the banner once her grandchild was born in late August, she was told that the banner was in violation of the “Town of Kearny Land Use Regulations," according to Antonelli's November letter to The Observer.
"My property is impeccable and kept in pristine condition — and all this town is concerned about is that I didn’t pay a 'permit fee to hang a birth announcement banner. I hope someone addresses this within the town as to the absurdity of what happened to us," Antonelli said in her letter to The Observer.
The Kearny Town Council recently introduced an amendment to the zoning code so that "a temporary banner in the Business District may be displayed temporarily to advertise a grand opening, sale, business anniversary or other celebratory milestones for a period not to exceed 30 days within any nine-month period."
"The banner shall be limited to a size no greater than 15 square feet. A permit shall not be required for such a temporary banner," Kearny Councilwoman Susan McCurrie said in reading the proposed amended ordinance to the “Signs and Awnings” section, about 49 minutes into the meeting on Jan. 11.
"Happy to see the Kearny Town Council saw this banner issue as ridiculous as the rest of the businesses and residents. Thank you for your support," Antonelli said on her Facebook page Sunday.