As communities throughout the region face legal challenges stemming from billboard installations, Horsham Township is looking to be “proactive” in offering would-be businesses more potential space.
The Horsham Township Council on Wednesday night voted unanimously to introduce an ordinance to amend the township’s existing regulation to provide for additional area where billboards would be permitted and to allow for larger signs. Councilman Gregory Nesbitt was absent.
If adopted following the public hearing slated for Aug. 27, outdoor advertising signs would be permitted in industrial, shopping center and general commercial districts on the following roads:
- The east side of Easton Road
- Along County Line Road
- Along Bethlehem Pike (Route 309)
Currently, signs up to 200 square feet are permitted in Horsham’s I-3 (industrial) district. The proposed amendment would allow signs on Route 309 to be up to 400 square feet; and billboards on Easton and County Line roads could be up to 300 square feet.
In addition, the ordinance would permit signs up to 25 feet in height and 40 feet in length.
Buffering between other outdoor signs, residences, as well as public and civic places ranges from 200 feet to 700 feet, according to the proposed amendment.
Currently Horsham does not have any billboards in place, Township Manager Bill Walker said.
“They like retail areas,” Walker said, noting that King of Prussia and Montgomery Township are more sought after locales for outdoor advertisements.
But, in case that sentiment changes, Walker said the governing body wanted to be proactive in updating its guidelines to “have more of a say of what we want in our town.”
“Even though we don’t like billboards and we don’t favor billboards, we have to accommodate billboards,” he said.
In Hatboro, the borough council this week . The borough’s attorney, Christen Pionzio, said that by including billboards in the ordinance, she hoped to prevent legal challenges that other neighboring towns are fighting in expensive court battles.
Horsham’s attorney, Mary Eberle, had a similar approach.
“The number one goal is to make sure our ordinance could withstand a challenge,” Eberle said. “The more places we allow it the better.”
The public hearing is set for 7 p.m. on Aug. 27.