The Zoning Hearing Board, on February 16, 2012, rejected the application of the Bartkowski Group to erect billboards in various locations throughout the Township.
My View: I oppose all efforts to permit the construction of billboards in Haverford Township. Billboards are ugly, are inappropriate in our community, and I will do everything I can as Commissioner to fight all efforts to construct these monstrosities in our residential community.
Facts: The Bartkowski Investment Group (otherwise known as “BIG”) has proposed erecting five mammoth billboards at five properties along West Chester Pike and Lancaster Avenue. Because these billboards are not permitted under the Township Zoning Code, BIG has filed a challenge to the constitutionality of the Township ordinance, which will be decided by the Zoning Hearing Board, a separate body from the Board of Commissioners (although all members of the Zoning Hearing Board (“ZHB”) are appointed by the Board of Commissioners).
The Board of Commissioners has unanimously agreed to retain our Township Solicitor to attend the ZHB hearings and to vigourously oppose BIG’s efforts.
Procedure: The ZHB will hear evidence and rule upon the challenge by BIG. After the ZHB, either party may file an appeal to the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County in Media. The Court of Common Pleas would then rule whether the ZHB ruled correctly. Thereafter, either party could file an appeal to the Commonwealth Court, which would review the matter and issue its ruling. After that, either party could request that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court hear the case, but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is not obligated to hear or decide the case; it is the Court’s decision whether to do so. It is generally expected that this matter will be decided by either the Commonwealth Court or the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
Please note all members of the Board of Commissioners (regardless of party) are opposed to the billboards, and we voted unanimously to retain the Solicitor to take all actions necessary to fight BIG.
It is important to note that the Board of Commissioners does not and cannot rule on BIG’s application; that decision is made by the ZHB after hearing the evidence and input from the community. There is no effort to change the Township Zoning Code to allow billboards, and I would oppose such efforts, if proposed.