BRYN MAWR, Pa. (CBS) — It’s a billboard battle on the Main Line. Two electronic billboards are slated to go up along Lancaster Avenue in Bryn Mawr.
But residents are against them, saying they have no place in their neighborhood.
Five-hundred square feet and four stories in the air — that’s the size of what many Main Line residents see as a threat to their community. The battle started 10 years ago, and now it’s back.
Call it Lancaster Avenue or Route 30, it’s a busy road but by no means an interstate. And for war-torn residents, it’s no place for I-95-sized billboards.
“I was one of the 83 people that testified in 2009 as to all the dangers,” Haverford resident John Douglas said.
This billboard battle has been going on for a decade between Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Lower Merion and the Bartkowski Investment Group, known as BIG.
In 2009, BIG filed an application to install two billboards on the 600 block of Lancaster Avenue, but local municipalities pushed back.
“Billboards in this suburban community would be extremely lucrative and so the billboard company is relentless in pursuing approval. It’s been a decade,” said Lower Merion Commissioner Scott Zelov.
Now, a new application has been filed by BIG. Renderings of what the billboards might look like were shared by officials during Thursday night’s public meeting.
“These signs aren’t safe,” one resident said.
Officials and residents have cited the proposed billboards as a distraction and therefore a safety issue.
BIG, which has long held a leasing agreement for the spaces, argued in court that their right to build has been determined by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
In 2009, a ruling was upheld that found an outright ban on billboards to be unconstitutional.
In 2014, Commonwealth Court determined that the localities were not justified in banning the billboards but also that their safety concerns were justified.
“Outdoor advertising comes in all shapes and sizes and the shape and size that’s proposed is excessive,” Zelov said.
The issue is scheduled to go back to court on Jan. 21.