Salisbury Press

Thursday, June 4, 2020


Wednesday, June 12, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Local News

Kost Tire & Auto sign gets size, message approval

Kost Tire & Auto Care will get its "15 minutes of fame."

The Salisbury Township Zoning Hearing Board approved a request for a larger-than-permitted sign and also a sign that will have changing messages on it for the new Kost facility, under construction at 3117 Lehigh St.

As part of the approval, township zoners stipulated the sign could change no more frequently than every 15 minutes.

Zoners voted unanimously 5-0 to approve a request for a variance to allow a larger than permitted size of the free-standing sign, to be located along south side of Lehigh Street, between 24th and 31st streets.

The sign is to be 60-square feet. The sign will exceed the allowed 40-square-feet permitted under the C-3 General Commercial Zoning District, where Kost is building its facility, by 20-square feet.

Zoners voted unanimously 5-0 to approve a request for a variance from a township zoning rule, which prohibits electronic changing message signs beyond the permitted time and temperature.

Ray Bartolai, Kost northeast operations manager, testified during the one-hour June 4 hearing in the township municipal building.

The initial request was for the sign to change every eight seconds.

James A. Kelley, zoning board chairman, was concerned the brief length of time for the sign to change would constitute a blinking sign and could be distracting for vehicle operators on Lehigh Street.

The Kost sign is to include a time and temperature message. The color of the lettering would be blue or red. The purpose of the sign's changing message would be to advertise Kost services and prices.

"We're a new business coming to the area, so we need to alert customers," Bartolai said.

The message on the sign would be programmed from inside the Kost facility.

Atty. Victor F. Cavacini, zoning board solicitor, read from the township zoning ordinance, which prohibits "flashing, blinking, twinkling or animated signs."

Rodney Conn, zoning board vice chair, seconded by Ronald Evans, made a motion to bring the size appeal to a vote.

"I don't think that 15 minutes is unreasonable," Conn said.

"I'm not troubled by 15 minutes," zoner Edward Hare said.

"I don't think they need the time and temperature," Hare added.

"It's up to them to decide what to do with their 15 minutes of fame," Conn said, referring to the 1968 Andy Warhol adage that "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes."

Evans made a motion, seconded by Conn, to bring the message timing appeal to a vote.

The area of Lehigh Street where Kost is located is referred to as the auto mile because of the number of car dealerships and vehicle repair shops there.

There are numerous business signs, some of which are larger than what the Kost sign will be.

Kost is adjacent to Midas and Jiffy Lube and near Jack Williams vehicle service shops.

The Kost sign would be operated approximately 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Illuminated signs are prohibited 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. in the township.

Residential houses, located in Allentown, are on the west side of Lehigh Street.

Township Director of Planning and Zoning Cynthia Sopka, in answer to a question from a reporter for Salisbury Press, said property owners in the vicinity of the Kost project, were notified of the zoning hearing concerning the sign.

No township or Allentown residents attended the June 4 meeting to object to the sign.

Work on the Kost project includes, as of the zoning meeting, 85 percent of the stormwater, drainage and retention system installed and being tested. The exterior framing of the building has been erected.

The Lehigh Street location is believed to be the firm's first facility in the Lehigh Valley.

According to its website, Kost Tire and Auto Care was founded in 1938 by Mike Kost Sr. and has 53 stores in upstate New York and northeastern Pennsylvania.