Billboards in the Burbs

Summary Prepared by The Pennsylvania Resources Council on July 16, 2009

Over the past 11 months, Thaddeus Bartkowski, of Bartkowski Investment Group (B.I.G.) has made applications for 22 billboards to be erected in the following towns: Marple (7 Billboards), Springfield (7 Billboards), Haverford (5 Billboards), Newtown (3 Billboards) townships and Morton borough (1 Billboard). The sizes of the billboard faces applied for are 672 square feet (14ft. x 48ft.) except for one billboard application in Newtown township which was 1200 square ft. (20ft.x60ft.) billboard. When all of the towns rejected the applications for the billboards,B.I.G. challenged the validity of the sign ordinances and asked the zoning hearing boards for variances.

Economics & the Visual Environment: Better for Business

Ugly is Bad for Business!

Things that uglify a place–such as billboards, litter, and graffiti–scare away customers. Uncontrolled billboards and unregulated on-premise signs overwhelm us with competing advertisements. Rather than being informative, “sign-clutter” distracts the consumer; and no message gets through clearly.

Across the country, municipal planners know that business districts thrive the most when steps are taken to preserve and enhance their character and appearance. And according to Edward T. McMahon, director of the American Greenways Program, “A good sign code is pro-business, since an attractive business district will attract more customers than an ugly one. Moreover, when signs are controlled, merchants do a better job of selling and at less cost.”

Strengthening the Economy by Protecting Our Environment

The states that do the most to protect their natural resources also wind up with the strongest economics and the best jobs.

–The Institute for Southern Studies

As a state, Pennsylvania is rich in natural beauty and cultural heritage. From rolling farmland, to historic battlefields, to acclaimed architecture, Pennsylvania has much to offer. Preserving these resources by protecting the scenic environment not only ensures that our state will remain beautiful, it also ensures that Pennsylvania’s economy will be strong.