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Township Opposes Billboard Proposal

The Horsham Township Council intends to fight the installation of a billboard at Route 309 and Welsh Road proposed to be larger than otherwise permitted.

The Horsham Township Council intends to fight the installation of a billboard at Route 309 and Welsh Road proposed to be larger than otherwise permitted.
The Horsham Township Council intends to fight the installation of a billboard at Route 309 and Welsh Road proposed to be larger than otherwise permitted.
In order to install a 672-square-foot billboard on Route 309 and Welsh Road as proposed, the zoning hearing board would need to grant seven variances.

And the Horsham Township Council said it does not support any of the special exceptions being requested. The governing body told the applicant's attorney, George Ditter, Wednesday night that it intended to share its concerns with the zoning hearing board in advance of the zoning meeting on Tuesday.

"I think that to start making exceptions right away is counterproductive to what we passed," Council President Mark McCouch said of the ordinance the council adopted in 2012, adding that he was not in favor of granting any waivers. 

Council members W. William Whiteside and Deborah Tustin agreed. 

Township attorney Mary Eberle will share the council's concerns with the zoning hearing board. 

In the meantime, Ditter told Patch that his client intends to proceed with the current plans. 

"We're already on their agenda," Ditter said of the zoning hearing board. 

And if the zoners reject the application?

"I guess we'll wait and see," Ditter said. 

He told the governing body that a 672-square-foot billboard size was more in line with the "industry standard" as compared to the maximum 400-square-foot billboards permitted under the township ordinance. 

Ditter said the applicant is also requesting a height variance to permit a 50-foot-high billboard when a maximum of 25 feet is permitted. He held up photos noting an obstruction with the Sunoco sign situated at the site envisioned for a billboard at 1440 Bethlehem Pike. 

Raising the height would position the billboard "into an area that’s visible," he said. 

Other variances included changing the timing of new messages from the 30 seconds provided under the ordinance to eight seconds.

The zoning hearing board last month approved the township's first billboard. That plan calls for the installation of a billboard at 1198 Easton Road. 
Robert Applegarth January 11, 2014 at 08:12 PM
Less than a month after Council approved a specific billboard to be installed, they are in a battle to change their approval through the Zoning Board. These variances should have been requested while the issue was still in the planning stages. This is a clear attempt to circumvent the Council's wishes by using the Zoning Board to get what they want. I thought the original approval was a mistake, now I am sure it was a mistake. Any money the Township makes from fees for this project will be eaten up by legal fees. Why to spend the taxpayers' money, folks!
Robert Applegarth January 11, 2014 at 08:13 PM
That should be WAY to spend taxpayers' money, folks!

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