Companies seeking Monroeville’s permission for billboards along Parkway East |

Companies seeking Monroeville’s permission for billboards along Parkway East

Two advertising companies are asking Monroeville leaders to allow larger, brighter billboards along the heavily traveled Parkway East, less than a decade after a similar measure failed.

Out-of-state billboard giant Interstate Outdoor Advertising has requested amendments to the zoning ordinance that would change restrictions on billboards near sections of the parkway.

The issue could come up at the next Monroeville Planning Commission meeting on Dec. 17 at the municipal building.

The planning commission tabled a proposal on Nov. 19 to amend the zoning ordinance so that advertisers could to erect billboards almost five times the size currently allowed.

Larger-sized billboards were one aspect of an application that Cherry Hill, N.J.-based Interstate Outdoor Advertising, has submitted to the municipality to erect two billboards.

Right Angle Media, based in Churchville, Bucks County, also has requested permission to construct a billboard in the proposed “outdoor advertising” zone.

Interstate Outdoor Advertising asked the planning commission to table the application that contains these amendments so that it could submit additional documents and revise its requests, municipal zoning and code enforcement officer Mark Ciufo said.

“In my opinion, it was an incomplete application,” he said.

Representatives for Interstate Outdoor Advertising and Right Angle Media did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Under the proposed amendments, the maximum size of billboards along those portions of highway would be 700 square feet. The current limit is 150 square feet.

Advertisers would be able to erect billboards up to 80 feet high, compared with a current 24-foot limit.

The proposed amendments also would reduce the minimum spacing between billboards from 750 to 500 feet and change the restrictions on lights.

Advertisers would be able to use digital displays and colored lights, which currently are banned.

PennDOT would also have to approve billboards near the parkway under the federal Highway Beautification Act, Ciufo said.

Janice Olszewski, a 28-year resident, said she worries about what would happen if advertisers are successful.

“This would clutter the sides of the highway,” Olszewski said. “It’s distracting to drivers. It’s a safety issue.”

She hasn’t changed her mind since the last controversy over outdoor advertising, when she was among residents who attended council meetings between 2005 and 2007 to voice opposition to proposed changes to restrictions on outdoor advertising near the parkway.

That proposal ultimately failed.

Gideon Bradshaw is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-871-2369 or [email protected].

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