Too much? I don’t think so. How many of these GIANT ELECTRONIC OUTDOOR TV’s are supposed to light up our nights? We aren’t I-95. But now Outfront Advertising wants us to think so.
Yes, that is right, ANOTHER billboard application has been filed in East Whiteland Township. Another kill the trees for the Route 202 billboard. The application says 103 Feet East of Mill Lane.
To be clear, because I may not be being clear, this M-700 Application by Outfront Advertising AKA BILLBOARD COMPANY is to REMOVE and potentially unnaturally trim 150 year old sycamore trees not a brand new billboard per se. It FEELS like a new billboard because they are the successor owners to Catalyst. Catalyst had previously filed an M-700 with PennDOT after killing a slew of trees and then there was serious community uproar, and then before a decision was ultimately made if I recall correctly, the application was withdrawn and then the site flipped from Catalyst to Outfront.
This is next to a PARK and residents, as in real affected people. Like last time, it would be a heinous act with environmental, highway, and residential impacts. We are an area that floods now and badly with every heavy storm. Tree removal = more erosion and other impacts with stormwater impact. Overall environmentally this is bad and these are OUR heritage trees. Why do we have to lose more heritage trees in our communities for billboards? Scenic highways, would that be so bad? Less distractions, being more environmentally friendly?
East Whiteland Township is OPPOSED to this new application.
But East Whiteland needs your help, especially but not limited to residents. If you travel this stretch of Route 202 regularly, PLEASE take the time to contact PennDOT and CC: Scott Lambert, Chair of the East Whiteland Township Supervisors. I will provide some lovely email address I have looked up in a moment, but you can also report your concern via their Customer Care Center: https://customercare.penndot.gov/eCCC/eCCC.nsf
YOU MUST BE POLITE AND PROFESSIONAL, NO PROFANITY PLEASE.
Scott Lambert, Chair East Whiteland Supervisors: email@example.com
Slifer, Joanne: firstname.lastname@example.org
Altemose, Darren: email@example.com
Wilcox, Owen: firstname.lastname@example.org
At the end I will embed the actual documents I received on a Right to Know. But now a word about billboards as an issue. EVERY SINGLE TIME the issue comes up, the knee jerk response is “get rid of all of the elected officials.”
It’s not that simple, people, and neither should any of you be when it comes to this.
And you know, as well as I do that things with development are not always so simplistic because of the municipalities planning code. Billboards also come in to play with that, because if Pennsylvania had a more strict or defined policy about billboards as a state, it would have a trickle down effect to local zoning, and Pennsylvania kind of looks the other way which is why I am FOR different State Representative representation here for example. State Representative Kristine Howard does not do much of anything and does not have a voice for her constituents. We now have Katie Muth as our State Senator and I don’t know enough about her to have an informed opinion. At this point other than from what I have seen, she does stand up for her constituency, depending upon the issue. Maybe she will show an interest in helping save communities against billboards, or one can only hope.
You all know how I feel about billboards. I’ve never made a secret of it and I’ve been parts of groups fighting billboards since billboards were first proposed around 2010 in Bryn Mawr on Lancaster Avenue.
When billboards first became an issue in East Whiteland, some of the community were all gung ho, and formed a no billboards group. But those people soon fizzled out and didn’t go to meetings they weren’t speaking up and it was just left to a few people. People are not consistent with participating where they live. And everybody has a different reason, but the thing is people have to pay attention to the meetings and the schedules and what’s being submitted and it’s all there as public information. With regard to township meetings you can also attend them on zoom from the comfort of your home. You don’t have to be in person anymore and if you can’t attend them on zoom, you can watch them after on YouTube but people have to participate. Consistently.
Part of the problem is that more residents need to get involved where they live — as in East Whiteland and elsewhere. We can’t blame government for our lack of participation where we live.
When these billboards first came up the threat of the expense of prolonged litigation was real (look at Haverford Township and Lower Merion for real world examples.) This was like the one billboard that the billboard guy really wanted, but he had proposed three, so it was either they were going to accept this one billboard and the other billboards would go away or there would’ve been three like this within a mile and a half to 2 miles. People will have to go back and look at the original submissions. (http://www.eastwhiteland.org/418/E-Whiteland-Outdoor-LLC-Off-Premises-Sig )
Now I will admit that I think they could have said no, but the township felt compromise was in everyone’s best interest. Of course we now know how obnoxious that sign is, so perhaps that sign can be revisited by PennDOT and East Whiteland?
Once again, I ask people to start bombarding state elected officials, including the freaking governor to update the Municipalities Planning Code to protect where we live. It requires them to enact an act of the state constitution to do this, and they’re all too damn lazy to do it and this has to be done in Harrisburg. We need a top down STATE law solution to SAVING our communities from billboard blight.
I just don’t want people throwing the baby out with the bathwater because not all elected officials are bad. And we need to come together on this issue for real. Again.
From 2020: Billboard Battle Rages in Bryn Mawr
Here are the documents I have to share below. I am also sharing something from Scenic America. I don’t pretend to have the answers but please contact PennDOT. Time is of the essence. If you have media contacts, please impress upon them to cover this.
Saying NO to billboards IS possible. It doesn’t happen often enough, but it does happen. Phoenixville did it in 2012, remember? And a Chester County Judge upheld that decision in 2014. And special counsel to Phoenixville then is now a judge…Anthony Verwey. And Tredyffrin won their case this year saying NO to a billboard on Lancaster Avenue in Paoli.
Stronger together, people. Fighting billboards is not the purview of any political party. This is a non-partisan we live here but the billboard companies don’t live here kind of an issue. This is purely a We The People thing. Please stand up and be heard.
Together we can save 150 year old trees. Hopefully we can someday save our communities completely from billboard blight. But we can only do that as unified communities across Pennsylvania.