Borough Council passes preventative billboard ordinance
I received an inquiry from a resident regarding the recent ordinances passed by Media Borough Council:
I read the Town Talk this morning and it communicated that Media passed two ordinances. If my interpretation of the article is correct we will now allow two things: gas stations to be able to communicate with LEDs and businesses to be able to communicate with LEDs in the industrial district within the current billboard parameters … If this is true I can certainly understand the gas station being allowed to advertise its prices with LEDs.
I have diffculty understanding why we would want to expand the option to other businesses. Illlumiated signs does not seem to be aligned with a town that advertising is itself as “Eveyone’s Hometown.”
I certainly do not see how this helps create value and improves the quality of the town, do you see towns like Radnor putting electronical signs on the road?
Was there an analysis performed of the pros and cons before this decision was made?
How many businesses voiced thier desire to have electronic signs?
Please let me know if my interpretation of this ordinance and situation is accurate.
Obviously, on first glance the issue appears to be a troubling ordinance. Personally, I am not in favor of having billboards in Media at all, although I am in favor of attractive, tasteful signage that helps visitors find their way to the downtown shopping and dining district.
My response to this resident would also help clarify for the greater community:
The short answer is that by not having any ordinance at all regarding illuminated billboards, any company or person could then install one and then challenge us on the basis that we didn’t have anything in our laws.
This would be a very bad thing as it would be hard to defend after the fact.
The ordinance we put in limits the billboards to a very small area of town (the commercial district behind the produce stand on the west side of town), and in fact one of the properties just next to Baltimore Ave., I believe, is owned by the Borough.
The height restriction of 35 feet also limits severely the ability to put anything in that area, and finally the fact that it must be a static image which changes every minute also limits the billboards.
So, in short, this was a preventative law intended to secure our rights regarding billboards, not to enable them to be put in place freely.
Finally, the issue with the gas station signage was based on a request from one of the gas stations on Baltimore Pike, who deserves credit for patiently waiting for the borough to pass this particular ordinance.
The business representative asked Media Borough to iron out the electronic sign ordinance so they can change their gas prices electronically, and has extended their zoning request for several months to allow us to put this ordinance through. Suffice it to say that the new law enables them to do so but effectively limits the size and brightness of the signs to avoid any “Las Vegas” style signage on Baltimore Ave., but still enables them to change their prices easily.
Thanks go to the Community Design Committee, and to Borough Solicitor Robert Scott, Esq. for suggesting the preventative billboard ordinance.
Kent Davidson is a first-term member of Media Borough Council, and author of this site.