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The Abington Citizens Network
where Abington, PA residents can share ideas and join forces to build a better community
 

OutdoorAdvertising /Billboards

Please let us know if you see any errors or incorrect information.

I     Latest Update :  As of 10-30-13  A decision came from Judge Leadbetter - Abington won -the decision
                    from the Common Pleas Court stands.  See the Towns below ---- Abington included for more  

   MENU ON THIS PAGE
Nutshell  Description of the Billboard challenge - understanding the problem .
What Can I Do ?

Latest Update
Resolution to support for your Community -   we want all municipalities to pass this

Legislation to support  for our State - we need every towns reps to  support this bill
List of Docket numbers of the lawsuits
List of other Towns & Townships battling this
Our rights by the PA Constitution 
Locations in Abington and Billboard facts in Abington
Who are the billboard people ?
Groups helping to fight this
Legalese & Caselaw 
Resources  & Longer Explanation  of  the issue
Sample Letter to your Senators & Representatives
In Abington -Summary Chronology & Location of the Billboards in Abington
More Concerns  

Nutshell Description
 
  In our home towns, one man and  his multiple companies, and a tiny handful of similar companie, s are holding town after town hostage because of  an aberration of state law that allows them to "challenge  the validity" of the ordinances  written by each town to keep billboards out.  The outrageously costly challenges have their lawyers, and ours, smiling all the way to the bank, while the tab is picked up by the citizens  and the fight has sometimes been abandonned citing lack of funds.  Residents have had enough  --- they have been putting pressure on their townships to wage the battle - but laws need to be passed on the state level in addition to these challenges locally  to prevent this kind of pillage being in any way legal. We need to prevent judges from ruling -ever-  in the interest of big money and against the citizens' safety, welfare and quality of life.

When  one man or one company  is able to put visual blight in town after town after town because he can make a fortune doing it, things are upside down.  If every Township stands their ground, as many have begun to do, it will still cost millions and take years of citizens' time to change this. In addition to holding judges feet to the fire to rule against these bullies and preserve the constitutional rights of the residents, we need state and federal legislators to address the issue of the continual challenge. 
      Fortunately, Abington has chosen to do stand up to the bullies.  We are proud that they have done so. Our rights on every front depend upon people knowing that we will stand up for them. Now - state legislators- it is your turn . Change the laws that are allowing this continuing debacle.
       The billboards that are being proposed are everything from 14 x 48 and much larger on a single post or digital changing billboards built into concrete structures- or billboards placed on buildings. all of them detract from the overall beauty of the area, take eyeballs away from local businesses and local signs, make the roads less safe as drivers put their  attention elsewhere, and violate our rights according to the Constitution.


What can I do ?
1) 
We need one person at least from each town ( more if possible ) to link in to our network to keep us abreast of your town's status and to take back news from the other towns  ( send us your email )

2) We want ALL municipalities to get on the same page and pass ONE resolution )
If yours has not - please initiate the conversation and let us know the result
####
Resolution #7#####(  what we want all municipalities to pass)
This resolution was passed 6-11 at the Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities convention.
Submitted by the Southeast District  :Regulation of Outdoor Advertising
WHEREAS, the outdoor advertising industry has sought to weaken and restrict the right of local municipalities to regulate outdoor advertising billboards; and 
WHEREAS, the use of outdoor advertising billboards has become more prevalent with the growing use of large changeable electronic message signs; and
WHEREAS, PLCM finds that such electronic changeable message billboard signs can be a distracting safety hazard for motorists; and
WHEREAS, PLCM finds that outdoor advertising billboard signs when sited at inappropriate locations can cause harm to the historic and aesthetic character of a community; and
WHEREAS, the PLCM has determined that a clear right for local municipal regulation of outdoor advertising signage should be established in the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED:  the Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities supports legislation and requests the General Assembly to amend the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code to establish a clear right for local municipal regulation of outdoor advertising signage.
.............This resolution supports amendment to the PA Municipalities Planning Code to establish a clear right for local regulation of billboards.
Congratulations to West Chester for leading the way on this!

________________________________________________
3) Current Legislation To Support - be sure your town supports :
        House Bill  1273 

  Our Constitutional Rights

Article 1 Section 27 of  Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pa says “
        The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the  natural, scenic, historic and
        esthetic
values of the environment.
Pennsylvania's public natural resources are the common property of all
        the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall
        conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.


Article 1 section 1 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth, Inherent Rights of Mankind, which states " All men 
          are  born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent and indefeasible rights, among
          which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing and protecting
          property and reputation, and of pursing their own happiness."

Our Commissioners take an Oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and of the Commonwealth .

The
 First Class Township Commissioner's Handbook charges the Commissioners with looking out for the safety and welfare of the citizens of the Municipality .  Signs that are intended both to distract drivers eyes from busy road and intended to draw viewers eyes to their signs instead of our own businesses and shops are surely not adding to the safety and welfare of those in our township . Municipalities do have this governmental police power to make laws that protect health, safety and welfare.

  Billboard Facts in Abington Township's challenge
Here is a summary  - see blow for latest update
The applications in Abington were  filed by a company named MC Outdoor Advertising
Originally  5 properties  on Old York Road & Huntingdon Pike were chosen - but like his tactics in other
    communities, he first presented the worst horror scene  then agreed to "moderate" his offer . The more
   " moderate" proposal for Abington  lands the  giant signs in PB districts like the Willow Grove Mall,
    the Giant Store in Abington and the  Old Genuardi's Center (now doctors offices ) in  Rockledge . 
The applications made challenge the validity of our ordinance, suggesting our ordinance cannot apply to them
      because it is invalid by virtue of the fact that there is a State Law that prohibits any blanket ban of billboards
     ( or any other specific business )  . Township laws must be in compliance with State Law they assert
The applications  were made to the the Abington Township Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB)
The blanket prohibition in  the Township's current Zoning Ordinance does entirely prohibits off-site advertising
     however, it should be noted that we DO not entirely prohibit it in actuality.  It is allowed now by waiver and
     exception - for  instance on the bus shelters near Holy Redeemer Hospital etc
Off site advertising signs are signs for entities not occupying the property  upon which the advertizing is placed.
    Our assistant manager just proposed  them for our public lands, too . 
 This signage not only is designed to take a driver's eyes off the road, but off site advertising also means that
        another  entity distracts the viewer from seeing what our own township businesses have displayed . In earlier
        meetings we have been told our own businesses need our help to stay afloat ( via tax abatements, etc)
Exclusionary Zoning is when a zoning ordinance imposes unnecessary requirements or regulations that by
          their very nature exclude a specific group or practice. Bartkowski has been known to offer larger signs
          only, so that if large signs aren't accepted they can claim they have been unfairly exempted.
Cases  in other local municipalities exist - in 5 nearby towns they are choosing to fight these Validity Challenges.
       Others have won on incomplete applications . In upper Providence safety was an issue .
There is a Federal Study underway  re: safety  and signage - but it is unlikely to be presented ti next year. 
Originally our Commissioners declared our ordinance invalid, then they reversed  that and hired an attorney
      to meet the validity challenge in court and fight it.
 As of 10-30-13 Abington won a ruling that the trial court in
    Common Pleas did not err  in sustaining the Commissioners preliminary objects and dismissing MC's complaint

 LIST OF DOCKET #'S  FOR LAWSUITS

Delaware County:  Find Delaware County Cases here
Bartkowski Investment Group vs. Marple:  2009-008461
Bartkowski Investment Group vs. Springfield:  2011-003479
Bartkowski Investment Group vs. Haverford: 2012-002429
Mid Atlantic Development Partners vs. Concord:  2011-007207

 

Montgomery County: Find Montgomery County Cases here 
Bartkowski vs Roe Fabricators:  2012-13649
MC Outdoor vs Ambler:  2012-09267
Adsmart vs Lower Merion:  2010-33014 (Commonwealth 173 CD 2012)
MC Outdoor vs Abington:  2011-10543 (Commonwealth 1510 CD 2012)
MC Outdoor vs East Norriton: 2012-08031 & 2013-07165

Chester County: does anyone have a link to find these? Below are the ones we think are active
Phoenixville
Penn Township
Lower Providence
Westtown
East Pikeland


Commonwealth Court http://ujsportal.pacourts.us/DocketSheets/Appellate.aspx
229 CD 2013, Therese Money vs.  BOS of Westtown and Chester County Outdoor
1510 CD 2012 & 698 MD 2012, MC Outdoor & Chester County Outdoor vs. Commonwealth of PA
741 CD 2012, Penn Twp vs Chester County Outdoor  (Affirm  County Court decision)
173 CD 2012, Adsmart vs. Lower Merion - (Affirmed County Court Decision

Other Cases - Please send if you have the docket #'s we're missing or more cases

 

 LIST of  TWPS AND MUNICIPALITIES
          WHO ARE BEING  OR HAVE BEEN CHALLENGED

see :  Map of just Bartkowski challenges as of end of 2011
    http://www.philly.com/philly/uncategorized/135881123.html
 

see : a map as of 12-11  of where some of Bartkowski's challenges are
       http://www.philly.com/philly/uncategorized/135881123.html

see :  Townships affected by scrolling below - send us errors or updates-

Abington - http://www.abingtoncitizens.com/Issues/Advertising/AdvertisingBillboards.htm
           Billboard Co is
MC Outdoor LLC PO Box 1421 Malvern, PA 19355 (610) 975-9390 (same phone as Catalyst)
           Thaddeus Bartkowski III
           
Attorney , Carl Primavera. ( Phila firm)
           Update : As of 10-30-13  A decision came from Judge Leadbetter - Abington won -the decision
                    from the Common Pleas Court stands
              as of ???  MC's case was  dismissed in Common Pleas Court  -- then MC appealed  the dismissal
              as of 4-11 the Township had reversed their declaration of invalidity and decided to hire Attorney
             James Byrne who represents 5 other communities  and stand up for the Township's rights to determine their 
              own sign ordinances . The Old York Rd & Huntingdon Pike locations had been swapped for proposed
              locations in the PB (Planned Business ) districts  including Willow Grove Mall   The Genuardi's Shopping
              Center in Rockledge
& on Giant Supermarket Building Complex  in Abington among other possible locations
              Status as of 5-11:
              http://abington.patch.com/articles/abingtons-lefevre-township-defending-stance-on-no-billboards
              Residents have asked Abington Commissioners to support  the Resolution # 7 above and to support HB 1273
Allentown
             Billboard Co is
            
Attorney
Ambler
    
        Billboard Co   MC Outdoor Advertising
            http://www.timesherald.com/article/20120126/NEWS01/120129645
              
Bryn Mawr -is Lower Merion & Haverford   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iISPehS2Dm0
            
Billboard Co BIG
             
Attorney is  Kaplin
Camp Hill http://www.pennlive.com/editorials/index.ssf/2010/04/harrisburg_areas_latest_drivin.html
             Billboard Co
             
Attorney is  
Cheltenham   had been challenged and circa 2006  decision and settlement was made
                They now have several Billboards - At least 1 by Keystone Outdoor Advertising  on Ryers Ave in Cheltenham
                 Joseph A Felice VP -  That property by  3-16-16 was the subject of numerous complaints about the
                 way it was maintained  -
Concorde - The Billboard Co (Anter )  lost  in commonwealth Court 3/11                
      
        Others are challenging:   Billboard Co is Mid-Atlantic Development Partners LLC,   
             Mid Atlantic  Principal Patrick Wolfington
              They're in their 6th or 7th Zoning  Hearing
             Attorney -  Gregg Adelman, from Kap-Stewart Law Firm  
              Where : 100, 200 and 300 blocks of Wilmington-West Chester Pike.
              Sizes  10 feet, 7 inches by 29 feet, 9 inches, or 315.88 square feet.  
             2-12 ???? split decision - one allowed one not ?????
            
The Concord vs Anter decision : Denied based on problems with the application

                        http://www.aopc.org/OpPosting/Cwealth/out/2508CD09_3-23-11.pdf 
             Commonwealth court upholds denial of billboards in Concord  
(Delco Times article               
              Prior  Concord  Press :
                      http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2010/11/04/news/doc4cd21ce1a07f1892989818.txt
Doylestown  - 
Doylestown Lost - now they're coming back to fight for more
              Billboard Co is  Outdoor Partnership (In-Plaza Advertising) Dave Curry
              Doylestown Residents call the billboard visual pollution
East Norriton -  www.EastNorritonResidents.org   -
               Billboard Co MC Outdoor Advertising
               Attorney Gregg Adelman 
                 April 25- Mc Outdoor appeals  the loss
               Mar 14, 2013 MC Outdoor loses its challenge -Zoning Board Rules
               Nov 2011 Article  http://www.timesherald.com/article/20111129/NEWS01/111129611
               Apr 26,  2011  the Board meeting will discuss it &
               they will be having a zoning hearing May 10, 2011 on the challenge to the validity of their ordinance
               which allow billboards in industrial areas - 
The locations  they are requesting are on Route 202
               across from the McDonalds (2938 DeKalb Pike), at 205 W. Germantown Pike near the credit union
                and at 229 W. Germantown Pike.
              http://www.timesherald.com/articles/2011/04/24/news/doc4db47e7696532490491627.txt 

Exeter -  The township was considered to have had a blanket prohibition which was not allowed and
               further , they only protested it on part of  Route 422 and seemed to allow it on another part .
                http://caselaw.findlaw.com/pa-supreme-court/1302767.html                  
 
Haverford  http://www.nobillboards.com  Haverford also includes Bryn Mawr
             Billboard Co is Bartkowski Investment Group (BIG)  principal Thaddeus Bartkowski III
             Attorney for BIG , Marc Kaplin
             Haverford chose to fight the Billboards . 
             As of 11-13  Haverford is still waiting for a decision in Delco Court, meanwhile, Bartkowski filed a new challenge
                      under his new name (Delco Outdoor? ) at 2 new locations!

                    Prior :  2-26- 13 Haverford is sitting in county court &  4 residents became parties to the case.
                    3-12  BIG got turned down - say they will appeal

                    In Oct 2011 they held a hearing for citizen input
                    Nov 17 , 2011video-taped deposition will be shown

                2-6-11  Hearing will be coming up  February 16,  2011   an end or a mew beginning               

Lower Merion   includes part of Bryn Mawr
                Adsmart lost re the  five points intersection in Bryn Mawr.- because he didn't have a permit (?) 
                It was ruled illegal by Lower Merion Zoning Board   October 14, 2010 and appealed in
            County Court
                in Nov, 2010  - ongoing
                Billboard Co is Adsmart  principal Thaddeus Bartkowski III
               
Attorney Marc Kaplin  (
Kaplin-Stewart Law Firm )
                     On the border of Haverford Twp so LM is fighting

Lower Moreland
        
   Billboard Co  Catalyst Outdoor Advertising
              Challenged sept 2011 - in November approval for 5 came before the Board
           
 http://lowermoreland.patch.com/articles/more-lower-moreland-billboard-locations-recommended-to-board-of-commssioners
Lower Providence
-  JP Mascaro offers 50,000 to end litigation & allow his  billboards
                   http://pottsmerc.com/articles/2011/05/09/news/doc4dc7e9ba42ac8909376682.txt?viewmode=fullstory

              2 billboard s  with static format on one side and a digital,   changeable-copy format on the other side. 
             14-by-48 feet (672 square feet) and max height of 51.5 feet & would face onto Route 422
              MB Investments ( with Landowner JP Mascaro)  Attorney Wm Fox
              There is existing billboard 800 ft away .

Lower Southampton Clear Channel and Outdoor Partnership were denied at first based on fact that  the
              township prohibited  billboards .  They appealed using  the Upper Southhampton case.  The township
              then said they did not have  "land
development " permits .   The Zoning Hearing Board said they didn't
              need Land Development permits . The Township appealed  to Common Pleas of Bucks Co  and that
              court reversed the ZHB decision. The Commonwealth court then agreed with the Common Pleas
              Court   but that decision was appealed and reversed in 11-07
 
              Billboard Co is Clear Channel & Outdoor Partnership

Marple
- Billboard Co BIG   _ Thaddwus Bartkowski
                Dec 2011  Marple wins a decision               
 
               Earlier :
http://www.nobillboards.com/marple    They put their ordinance in compliance before Bartkowski came to
                 challenge them (
a curative amendment)- but  something wasn't filed right - he challenged them in
                 local court  and Bartkowski lost -
                 Another recent challenge in Commonwealth Court resulted in an April 2011
                 decision to
reverse the summary judgment in favor of the township on the complaint and 
                 remand it back to the county court for further proceedings
.      
                 http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2011/04/19/news/doc4dacec062c668416272416.txt                
               
 Billboard Co is Bartkowski Investment Group (BIG)  principal Thaddeus Bartkowski III
               they did try doing a curative amendment.  Bartkowski challenged that they had not followed
               the correct procedures .   Bartkowki lost the first round & appealed
               Commonwealth Case will be argued Feb 2011
               It is possible that one of the sites might have required a renters approval of the  signage ....not confirmed
Milbourne -  discussing the issue
Morton  http://www.nobillboards.com/morton Has been on hold . Might be August or later of 2011....
               Morton is a small boro...
 
             Billboard Co is Bartkowski Investment Group (BIG)  principal Thaddeus Bartkowski III
              
Attorne
y
               Sign applied for on a piece of Baltimore Pike - 7 signs.
New Hope/ Solebury -
               Billboard Co is
              
Attorney
Newtown Twp (
Newtown Square )  Delaware Co  http://www.nobillboards.com/newtown
            
     Check Twp website for changes  As of 3-12 Batkowski has something he wants to "offer" that he
                 thinks residents will like .  Bartkowki had previously put everything  on hold for 18 mo - 
                 they just started zoning hearings in Feb 2011. They want billboards on West Chester Pike
 
               Billboard Co is Bartkowski Investment Group (BIG)  principal Thaddeus Bartkowski III
              
Attorney   -Primavera    
            
 
Thursday, March 15th, 7 pm next hearing - it was posponed 3 mo in a row       
Philadelphia -
a lot going on SCRUB is working on this - they have many different laws from first class twps
               Billboard Co is
              
Attorney
Phoenixville - 3 sites along Rt 23     Dec 15 2011 next meeting
               Billboard Co McOutdoor Advertising (?)   &
                Chester Co Outdoor Advertising
represented by Amee Farrell of the law firm Kaplin Stewart
                  and witness Patrick Wolfington
                 Dec 25, 2011
                 
http://articles.philly.com/2011-12-25/news/30556870_1_billboard-wars-v-shaped-billboards-outdoor-advertising-business
                 Dec 16, 2011 Legal aspects
                  http://phoenixville.patch.com/articles/phoenixville-billboard-hearing-concludes
                 Residents voice concerns  Dec 16, 2011  and comments on article recommend  boycotting the
                 businesses so they put pressure on their landlords not to lease  -- also to calls to lawyer & law firm
             
       http://phoenixville.patch.com/articles/speakers-voice-emotional-appeals-against-potential-billboards-in-phoenixville
Springfield, Montgomery County -
               Billboard Co is Mc Outdoor Advertizing Thaddeus Bartkowski
               Attorney
 Greg Adelmann
               Sept 2011
              
http://www.montgomerynews.com/articles/2011/09/15/springfield_sun/news/doc4e72478c1ff9c308231238.txt
                Next meeting  Oct 2011
                Twp Commissioner Doug Heller's Site    http://www.hellerspringfield.com/issues/billboards.htm

Springfield,  Delaware County -
                  Billboard Co - B.I.G. , Delco Outdoor,  Delco County Outdoor    Thaddeus Bartkowski   
                   Attorney   B.I.G. attorney Carl Primavera
                   Update :
BIG lost at ZHB, County, and the Commonwealth refused to hear the case
                         -
then changed his name to Delaware County Outdoor Advertising and is in front of the ZHB again,
                         with a new application to challenge their newly adopted sign ordinance!

                    Prior :  Zoning Hearing  w\ June 2013 - the 5-23-13 case was cancelled . The reworded
                     validity challenge for the same sites MINUS the Pandolfi Carpet location:   AND a new site
                   was applied for under another name: DELCO County Outdoor

                  As of 4-13   BIG lost at the Zoning Board , then at County Court, again at Commonwealth,
                      but  now he's back ...On  April 25th, 2013  he will come before the Zoning Hearing
                      Board with a reworded validity challenge for the same 6 sites and  a 7th site applied
                      under another name DELCO County Outdoor.

                          
http://delcotimes.com/articles/2013/03/02/news/doc51317bc25b9f3211490250.txt
                  2-26-13 BIG lost in court, has until the end of the week to appeal.
                 Also a reworded validity challenge was filed it with the Zoning Hearing Board without plans
                 and application for validity challenge for a 7th site was filed under the name Delco Outdoor
                
Nov 2012  Pa Supreme Ct split decision rendered - Their sign ordinance is  declared invalid -
                 but  Bartkowski/BIG is not entitled to site specific relief as the only choice of remedy.
                 An appeal is anticipated . Here is video of the additional argument in Philadelphia on October 7th
               
 May 2011 update : 
http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2011/05/20/news/doc4dd5dbb8a4e5b363463899.txt
                 The Zoning Board turned down the applications circa 3-24-11
                 It will be appealed at the County level - Common Pleas 
             
  
http://www.nobillboards.com   ||   News report  Oct 2010
Upper Moreland
Township
               Billboard Co Interstate Outdoor Advertising
              
In 1965 the PA Supreme Court ruled that their blanket prohibition to off-site advertising signs
                 was " exclusionary zoning
"
                Update They settled for one         
                
http://montgomerynews.com/articles/2011/06/08/public_spirit_willow_grove_guide/news/doc4defdefe9fea5440336592.txt
Upper Providence --
              12-09 Won a decision in commonwealth court - It was unpublished  and couldn't be used
                for case law until a recent (Pa?) supreme court decision reversed that and it now can be used . 
              The  opinion issued upholds  the denial of  the billboard applicants request due to safety . 
              Billboard Co is Steen  Outdoor Advertising
              Attorney Leslie Gerstein
              Feb 2010  
Steen initially challenged the validity of Upper Providence zoning code / the township
                    presented evidence the signs would be “injurious to the health, safety and welfare of the traveling
                     public.”/ Steen appealed the decision to Delaware County Court of Common Pleas/
              In June 2008 the court upheld the Zoning Board’s ruling/  Steen  appealed /........ then ?
Upper Southampton   Billboard Co won  Baker v. Upper Southampton Township Zoning Hearing Bd.
               , 830 A.2d  600 (Pa.Cmwlth. 2003), appeal denied, 849 A.2d 1206 (Pa. 2004).

West  Chester Boro -  crafted Resolution  for the League of Municipalities -
                   That resolution may have been adopted 4-7-11 

                  A Resolution That Your Township's Leadership Can Promote --find it just below this section
Westtown -
             Billboard Co -  Chester County Outdoor LLC 
Thaddeus Bartkowski III
             Petition  http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/badrowdz 
              Commissioners settled  with Billboard Co 8-11
             http://dailylocal.com/articles/2011/08/18/news/doc4e4c5066dcb53536806683.txt


Whitemarsh- already installed several
               Billboard Co is  - Clear Channel   -
              
Attorney
Wilkes-Barre
              (the community  won but forgot to send in their paperwork??- ended up with the sign anyway ???? )

               Billboard Co is
              
Attorney

In New Jersey  ---  Many people tied  to the top politicrats  Matt Outdoor etc
         
 http://articles.philly.com/2003-05-09/news/25459821_1_billboard-division-mcgreevey-billboard-contracts


Others ?  - please let us know

** to reach interested parties from these areas - contact LEL@abingtoncitizens.com

_________________________________

  WHO  ARE THE BILLBOARD PEOPLE &  COMPANIES CHALLENGING US ???

Thaddeus Bartkowski  III  --- again and again . http://www.philly.com/philly/uncategorized/135881123.html
                 or read
  http://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/stories/2009/03/16/story2.html?page=all
Patrick Wolfington  in league with Thad , and also has been an expert witness for him
Vahan Gureghian  - in Devon Pa & operating in NJ  in 2003
   
    Adsmart  Outdoor Advertising - principal - registered in PA  
   
BIG -Bartkowski Investment Group  -  
Thaddeus Bartkowski  investment group  - principal  -registered in PA
    Catalyst Outdoor  http://www.catalystoutdoor.com/ no PA registration yet found 
              same phone as MC Outdoor
   
   
Chester County Outdoor LLC -Thaddeus Bartkowski III
            
 has been represented by Amee Farrell of the law firm Kaplin Stewart and witness Patrick Wolfington,
 
   Delco Outdoor  - (Believe this is also Bartkowski - see Springfield DelCo

    
Interstate Outdoor Advertising - in New Jersey only ???
     Matt Outdoor based in Devon?  in early 2000's Vahan Gureghian was listed managing partner
            
 and has also been listed as owner  in May 2003 Matt Outdoor "operates out of the Devon,  home of Vahan Gureghian,
                 a Philadelphia attorney who forged ties with key members of McGreevey's political team to develop billboards
                 throughout New Jersey."

   
 MB Investments
     MC Outdoor LLC
  PO Box 1421  Malvern, PA 19355  (610) 975-9390 - Thaddeus Bartkowski
            no PA registration yet found -no website found  ( they may exist - let us know if you've found them )
     
Mid Atlantic Development Partners  -principal  Patrick Wolfington,no PA registration yet found
             Wolfington has also acted as witness for Bartkowski
     Steen Outdoor Advertising
     Stanton -
New Jersey only????
 

MORE ABOUT BARTKOWSKI   
Map of Thaddeus' challenges as of beginning 2011
                       
               http://www.philly.com/philly/uncategorized/135881123.html 
            
  http://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/stories/2009/03/16/story2.html?page=all
Thaddeus III's Film Credits:
       Thaddeus in Abington 3-21-11
http://www.abington.org/channel43.htm then go to March 21 Zoning /Billboards
       
Thaddeus Bartkowski III testifies in Haverford -
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPAmy5_7s3A
 
    http://vodpod.com/watch/2664267-no-billboards-in-bryn-mawr-thaddeus-j-bartkowski-iii-states-his-case

 Thaddeus uses Kaplin's law firm ( of Brandolini/ Baederwood fame) :  
               
  Lawyers from that firm  include  Aimee Farrell ,  assistant Kristen D. Shepherd

  RESOURCES & POINTS UNDERSTANDING THIS ISSUE :  
Please do not rely on anything found here without checking the facts out yourself.

DOCUMENTARY    This Space Available   ( this trailer itself is worth watching )
*
A PRESENTATION OF THE COMPLETE ISSUE  by William Brinton Esq :
     This more "in depth than most want - but is excellent to see what all is entailed in this issue 

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9F0wAiuqqWs
   covers all phases of the Billboard
     issue - This takes place  at  nearby  Springfield Township .
 
 Billboard Points to Consider :

  Few " Blanket Prohibitions"  exist in reality -
  Most ordinances are administered in a manner that puts no 
           blanket prohibition on" outdoor advertising" , billboards etc. Our Townships are given the ability to waive
          provisions of ordinances based on the judgment of the Commissioners or Supervisors. Do you see ads on       
          Bus Shelters, benches, etc?  There is outdoor advertizing allowed, just not any that usurps the rights
          of others. There are outdoor signs allowed- they just have size regulations to prevent their intrusion on
          the rights  of others.
The determination of size is to preserve the  safety, welfare, aesthetic and other
          Constitutional rights of the citizens - as they are required by law to do.

  Billboards are signs. Period .  Whether you call them "Outdoor advertising"  or "Billboards" instead of
          signs, they  should not be considered  separate. All regulated advertizing is outdoors.  The only indoor
          signs we might regulate are ones inside glass door or a window  facing OUT.
  Onsite signs are necessary to help navigation - to find the store or property.  Off-site advertising that
        aids in this purpose should be considered differently than offsite advertising that distracts drivers and
        diminishes navigation ability. Do we have a law that differentiates these purposes? We certainly should.
  Safety Studies  There are numerous studies that show that distractions to driving increase accidents . Our
         Legislators are required by oath, law and Constitution to protect our safety.
  Property owners should have equal rights.  If billboard companies are allowed large signs,
        so should all property owners be- but you can imagine what THAT would look like.
  No one has the right to diminish the rights of another  - Property owners have a right to fair and equal
        competition for the attention of "eyeballs", citizens have a right to determine their collective scenic and
        aesthetic values as granted by their Constitution and we all have a right to have our Constitution
        defended &  our safety & welfare  protected  by our legislators  (without being "bankrupted" in the
        process) What is happening is a few are benefiting at the expense of the safety & welfare of many.
  Decreased property values also diminish our welfare. Would you choose a property next to a billboard
        if you could choose the exact same property with no billboard in view? 
   Access to Legal protection under the law - Do we have a right not to have our welfare threatened by
        lawsuits so that our welfare is diminished either way : via the billboards themselves or via the threat of an
        unfeasibly costly lawsuit. Legislators should act to amend this flaw in our system.
   Legal reform may be needed to amend validity challenges. When a flaw in an ordinance is found,
         no one should be allowed to exploit that for personal gain at the expense of others.  The 180 days
        to amend the ordinance is reasonable but should INCLUDE those that  discovered the flaw. 
        Legislation  should be proposed to amend this.
   Some businesses have # of change restrictions of 1 x per day . The digital sign requests are
            for changes every 7-8 seconds  Will everyone be able to do this ? What would that look like?
   Signs that distract viewers from the signs of our  businesses are not in the interest  (welfare) of Abington
           property owners, nor of residents who rely on sound businesses to aid in taxes (welfare) . 
    Digital Signs are an environmental blight -
these use up more energy & will overload local grids if they
           are allowed freely.
  Digitals can consume between 13 and 52 households worth of
           electricity - or as much as 46 times the energy needed for a lamplit billboard - and of course
           much, much more  than standard signs as regulated by townships by choice.
   Billboards can be dangerous - and can fall down - A clear channel sign fell down in Delco last Feb (2011)
   Driver Safety - The purpose of the signs is to take driver’s eyes from the road to the sign –
           add up in one day all of the time that the sign is being viewed & eyes are not on the road .
    If you limit lighting hours  - I,they may accept it now but  fight you on that (later)
   
If you limit  the kinds of "messages" & they can put on – they may agree now then  fight you ( later)
   
If you limit the size of the signs,  & they may agree now then  fight you ( later) after they are installed
   
If you limit  digital & allow only only, they may agree now then fight you ( later)  after they are installed
    If you
don't  fight them now – so you don't have to keep fighting them later.......

   Residents have to decide what they want in their town according to their Pa Constitutional rights
       Corporations do not vote & do not have the right to decide for us what our aesthetic and scenic rights are
        How can they possibly have the right to determine what an entire Township must  accept?
   Bait & switch tactics are being used everywhere by these companies . should be looked into as to whether
         they stand up to regulations re: unfair business practices. With threats of of lawsuits, these companies
         propose monstrosities near residential areas, near churches & schools & then settle for something
        "less onerous"   saying that will avoid litigation.  Do we have laws against such tactics? Those
         that use them should not be rewarded by our courts or by our Commissioners capitulating.
   Experts (like Jerry Wattel ) have testified regarding the safety.  Some other experts who had argued that
        there was no safety issue, were shown to have no credibility from having previously concluded  the
        contrary.  A child could recognize that our streets would be less safe with so these huge
       distractions.
_________________
  
    All the townships
required to uphold the Constitution of the Commonwealth should join together in a
      group along with their local  and regional legislators ( State Reps, Senators et al ) to effect legislation
      that offers relief when someone poses a  challenge that monetarily has  the potential to bankrupt our
      communities in order to enforce the citizens rights, and to aid each other against any unfair business
      practices. 



.    
 

 

1) THEY CAN BE DANGEROUS -

A Clear Channel Billboard in DE   recently fell down on a building  http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2011110225021 
http://www.delawareonline.com/videonetwork/804756558001/Cleanup-following-high-winds

2) BILLBOARDS USE  EXCESSIVE ENERGY http://www.scenic.org/billboards/digital_signage_energy_report
Digital Billboards use up to 46 times the energy of a typical lamp-lit billboard and as much as 30 times the energy  use of a house ....
http://articles.philly.com/2011-03-21/news/29171533_1_digital-billboards-digital-signs-traditional-billboards

 
__________________________________

GROUPS WHO ARE  HELPING THOSE BATTLING THE BILLBOARDS

AbingtonCitizens.com
Preserve  Our Pa Towns   www.preserveourpatowns.org

The Penna Resources Council -(PRC)  has a 5 town coalition http://www.prc.org/outdoor_ad.html  http://www.prc.org/ Carol Butler  Environmental Program  Specialist  
    
3606 Providence Road  Newtown Square, PA 19073  610-353-1555 ext 230  butler@prc.org
Scenic.org ---- http://www.Scenic.org a pittsburgh group ascertaining our rights to  the scenic environment
SCRUB Public Voice for Public Space in Phila - www.publicvoiceforpublicspace.org 
    
Mary Tracy, Executive Director 1315 Walnut Street   Suite 1605  Philadelphia, PA 19107   215-731-1796
No Billboards   www.no billboards.com  - great site loaded with links and info ( now see Preserve Our Pa Towns )
No Billboards in Haverford  www.nobillboardsinhaverfordupdate.com
Haverford Blog  www.haverfordblog.com
Save Ardmore Coalition  www.saveardmorecoalition.org
Westgate Hills Civic  www.westgatehillscivic.org
Urbanblight.org  www.urbanblight.org

_________________________________

LEGALESE & CASE LAW
What rights do we have ?

 
 Article 1 Section 27 of  Constitution of the Commwealth of Pa says “
        The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the  natural, scenic, historic and
        esthetic
values of the environment.
Pennsylvania's public natural resources are the common property of all
        the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall
        conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.

When we first started this page - things were quite different . In the years between 2010 and 2013 many lawsuits have been filed and case law should soon be changing.  While the Exeter Case has been relied on by the Billboard Companies to a great extent ( where the Billboard Companies prevailed)   Billboard companies are increasingly losing their battles.  In Upper Providence there was an unpublished case, which until a recent supreme court decision could not be relied  upon because it was not published.  Now  it can be .  In Concorde the Township denied the application ( they are appealing as of this writing)  and in Springfield Delaware  Co and East Norriton, the Zoning Board turned down the application .  If you can support these townships, and the others waging battles please do so - because the more case law we have the more the next case will have by way of support. There is a (Federal ?) highway safety study underway and the hope is that this study will boost the ability to turn down these applications based on safety.

Hoping to publish some of the cases soon where much caselaw is cited
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=272&invol=365
email me if you need them right away

_________________________________

If a  lawsuit is filed, please keep in mind   that you can register your status as "party" to the proceeedings . Please research fully , but this should be a viable option for being kept up and informed of the proceedings . This is different than public comment, as a party, you will be included in any notice of appeals and/or settlements and should you choose to do so, allows you the opportunity to appeal court rulings.


Excerpt from the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, Article 9, Section 908.3
3) The parties to the hearing shall be the municipality, any person affected by the application  who has made timely appearance of record before the board, and any other person including civic or community organizations permitted to appear by the board. The board shall have power to require that all persons who wish to be considered parties enter appearances in writing  on forms provided by the board for that purpose
Excerpt from the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, Article 9, Section 908.5
5) The parties shall have the right to be represented by counsel (not necessary at the Zoning Board Level) and shall be afforded the opportunity to respond and present evidence and argument and cross-examine adverse witnesses on all relevant issues.

 
As a "party" you have OPTIONS!

___________________________________

SAMPLE LETTER TO YOUR SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES FROM HAVERFORD

                                                                                                      Date:  _____________________

Dear _____________________,

I strongly urge you to unite with other state elected officials, like Daylin Leach (Senate Bill #1139) and Bill Adolph (House Bill #2085), to write and pass legislation that addresses the issue of outdoor advertising control and protects our hometowns.

I am a Haverford Township resident who owns a home and pays taxes in this township. At the beginning of 2009, a proposition, a set of applications, an unconstitutional validity challenge, an attack, began on my township and four neighboring Delaware County townships of Marple, Newtown, Springfield and the borough of Morton.  The Bartkowski Investment Group (B.I.G.), fronted by Thaddeus Bartkowski, III, very quietly began soliciting businesses to sign 30-year contracts to erect 672 sq ft sized billboards that will loom over every building, tree and many backyards in Haverford Township.

I am extremely concerned about the impact these enormous billboards will have on the value of my property, traffic safety and the economic future of Haverford Township.  I am also very apprehensive about the possible content of the advertising and its affect on the many children that are growing up here.  According to Scenic America, Pennsylvania is in the top five of the Mid-Atlantic region for having the most billboards

the country, even globally.  Caught in the middle are citizens like me, desperately hoping for laws to be written and passed to give us the right to preserve and protect our hometown character, property values and economic future.

The unbridled growth of the outdoor advertising industry, without stronger control, could mean billboard blight throughout the Keystone state.  This average Pennsylvanian, American, voter, and taxpayer, knows in their heart that something is wrong when corporate growth outweighs the voice of WE THE PEOPLEThis issue is not about protecting the free speech rights of advertisers, billboard developers and a few local business owners; it is an issue of protecting the rights of the thousands of residents and local businesses those who have paid the taxes and have made this family oriented community what it is.

Haverford Township residents are overwhelmingly opposed to this kind of development in our community.  We feel unprotected by state laws and legally and financially bullied by the outdoor advertising industry.  How can this company, representing only five property owners of five locations in Haverford Township, have the right to negatively change the face of my town forever?

Townships need State laws on their side when it comes to the preservation of their communities.  Residents should have a say in their community development.  Corporations do not deserve more rights or even the same rights as WE THE PEOPLE.


___________________________________________

IN ABINGTON
 

 Advertising is on the rise Township wide. Neon signs are now being permitted - often with waivers for far beyond what our code allows. There are requests or discussions about using our bridges and other public spaces as "advertising" spaces.  Our ordinances are being revised - not in the right direction for the rights of citizens to be furthered. The bus shelters are plastered with advertising that often presents  wholly  objectionable scenes on our streets - the most provocative scene from a racey or violent movie, for instance.  Is there any place that will not be blighted with ads in the near future at this rate?    News is out today about another advertising  adventure about to befall us .... 

In our view

Our ordinance is apparently in need of amending  to protect the citizens, not just to comply with the law. The law increasingly supports corporate voices over those of the citizens who vote. And if our Commissioners won't stand up to it on our behalf, there will be even more of it .

 If you don't understand the implications of this in your township, please see the YouTube video of a nearby Township presentation on the billboard situation.   

    Even more importantly, perhaps, is that we begin to recognize that the actions at the State level that affect us so dramatically  are generally out of our purview.  No one brings us that news as these rules are being passed  – we don’t know when it passed - no one notified us. We don't have regular updates - sporadic ones at best. We were not rallied against it or asked to write letters. We were not notified  before -  or after - billboard rules  became law. We were largely clueless, but for a very few among us.

   We do desperately need to find a way to have government brought to us in a manner that we can understand what is being done and how to participate,  actively. The normal channels are not working. Not surprisingly, since transparency is a word with little meaning in our government - both locally & nationally.   The billboard rule is great for businesses, onerous for most residents.  It is residents who are the voters.  We put people in place to "represent us" - but we find corporate voices represented over ours time and time again. By the very people we elected.

 The State requirements that solicitors be allowed in our neighborhoods ( a safety issue),  that newspapers thrown on our properties cannot be prohibited ( safety and quality of life ) ,  that we cannot prohibit excessive building, even on steep slopes in overbuilt areas like Baederwood, (causing flooding, traffic, loss of green  etc., etc., etc.)  or that billboards  must be allowed -----   these are just small examples of a process that needs to be changed at its core --- not battle by battle by battle by battle until we are too weary for more.....

   As you can see from the list above , there is a five Township/Boro  coalition fighting this against Bartkowski Investment Group  (Springfield Township, Delaware County  ( from whence our new  township manager hails and is currently managing un January 2011 ) Haverford, Marple, Newtown, and Morton .   Lower Merion, Concorde Township, King of Prussia, New Hope  and others are fighting billboards, too.   

  Would a coalition of every township across the state carry some clout?  Indeed.   If citizens were informed and united it would undoubtedly make a difference. Ultimately,  the state laws should  reflect what the citizens of this state would like to see.  Isn't that how it's supposed to work? Contact me if you have any thoughts to share or would like to be involved in helping keep billboards off of our Township roads.     

 

SUMMARY & CHRONOLOGY

in Abington

10-11 We're in a "lull" right now in the lawsuit -  congratulations to Abington to do for taking it on if every Township did this- and worked together it would make a difference

4-11    Abington reversed  it's decision to declare it's ordinance invalid -  and hired James Byrne ( who represents at least 5 other towns ) in fighting the billboard challenge.  The matter has gone to court .

3-21-11 Bartkowski  presented a new plan - after having met with commissioners individually or in small groups and  .  Residents were not notified nor invited to these meetings.   If your Commissioners throw in the towel, not only do they NOT help reduce the challenges by attempting to provide good case law - but they also  will show our township to be a place where Commissioners don't stand up. Recently someone told me an expert witness in one case for the Billboard company, who insisted the large signs were fine,  turned out apparently to be the author of zoning verbiage in that town years earlier that said that signs should be small in order to be safe!!!!!  We ARE given the right to protect our safety -- and we need our Commissioners ( and some very good lawyers )  to recognize that and to stand up for our rights .
Incidentally the Billboard lawyer in question with the dubious witness listed above,  was none other than the lawyer for our infamous Baederwood validity challenge"  that left us with overdevelopment  and much more that is not in the interests of our residents or community.

2-2-11  Our Township declared our  existing sign ordinance invalid & on Jan 13th called for a Curative amendment. They faced another validity challenge.   First the solicitors challenged ( now we have them wandering through residential neighborhoods because we modified our ordinance ) ,   then came the Baederwood challenge, (now we have 75 foot hi buildings because we modified our ordinance)  and now billboards........
    Here's a question--  who's not bringing our ordinances up to date  …….Doesn't Montgomery County work on that with our zoning people? Didn't they know about these challenges? Our new Manager is from Springfield Delaware who has been fighting this for a long time….. Shouldn't that have given someone the  heads up when they were doing  their homework on him ?  This was going on in his Township during that entire process . Who did the vetting and why didn't they bring this to our attention so our ordinance could be brought into compliance BEFORE Bartkowski came ?  If we want a township that is run properly, we need answers to these questions.
       This challenge was originally to put billboards on York Rd  & on Huntingdon Pike. Large ones, too.  But as in other townships, a bait & switch tactic seems to be at play.  In March 2011 after presenting the most odious pictures he could find drawn in  along York Rd  - Bartkowski   said he would agree to ones that were just in the "business" areas -  Still huge - still a blight on the landscape -  but now they wouldn't be towering above the residences. He has pulled the same or similar in other townships .  His signs still block out HUGE portions of our view and allow him to sell his giant message boards to anyone no matter how objectionable or crass the subject,  with just a few limitations . It is certainly not what I , or other Abington residents I have spoken with, want in their township.
       Many of us want our Commissioners to fight for our rights under the PA constitution. Bartkowski may have the right to pollute the scenic view on his own property - but does he have the right to pollute the scenic and esthetic value of our whole town wherever his  dollars allow?  Our Township itself  seems to be considering every  every piece of common property theirs to sell. At a recent meeting our assistant manager suggested off-site signs be permitted for sale on our public lands .  But the job of our township is to preserve the esthetic and scenic values of our town and our common property and resources.  I believe they have already made a motion to allow advertising on our bridges .... and our bus shelters are one big billboard - often with objectionable scenes for our families to drive by.
     . These billboards clearly provide unsafe conditions in a congested town where people are walking in front of cars and cars are pulling out of side streets. They are DESIGNED purposefully to draw drivers attention away from the road . Our Commissioners are charged with  the duty  of attending to our health, safety and welfare .  They should  to be able to  protect ourselves against  unsafe conditions and in addition we have the right of  the preservation of both scenic and  esthetic values of the environment.  But to have our rights, we need our Commissioners to stand up for us.  Springfield Delaware is not done their fight - and many other townships have chosen to fight . The more they do, the  better everyone's  chances of not being sold down the corporate river. I have urged our commissioners to join with other townships in asking legislators to call a moratorium on these challenges until proper safety studies are available .  Unsafe  =   drivers reading billboards instead of watching traffic in a busy town. In addition, anyone from out of town can come in and take a bigger amount of attention away from our local stores.  So it does them a disservice, too - and we have enough that are empty, struggling or in need of help right now - not in need of competition .

The Board has 6 months from (12/20/10) to enact the curative amendment. "Reasonable" restrictions (size, type, number and location) are allowed and Commissioners said they will  institute the most restrictive ordinance that is likely to withstand any additional challenges. Will protect our safety --- and the " scenic " value in our town ?
Will they wait to see if Springfield, Haverford,  and others prevail …

 Besides safety, Pennsylvania residents should remember that our constitution provides for us these rights :
Article 1 Section 27 of  Constitution of the Commwealth of Pa says “
        The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the  natural, scenic, historic and
        esthetic
values of the environment.
Pennsylvania's public natural resources are the common property of all
        the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall
        conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.
.

 

LOCATION OF THE ANTICIPATED PROPERTIES IN ABINGTON
Currrently :
The Willow Grove Mall, near the pond  on Moreland Rd
The side of the Giant supermarket  in Abington and the  Rockledge Shopping Center ( Doctor's offices, Rite Aid  area ) entrance on Huntigdon Pike 

 Originally  they bought leases on

1600 Old York Road  Amoco Transmissions  (?)
1706 Old York Road  Plant Outlet  (?)
1713 Old York Road  A-1 Locksmith  (?)
1844 Old York Road Kiku restaurant (?)
917 Huntingdon Pike - Former 711 - now Karate Studio - near the lukoil station and the medical domed building

________________________


MORE CONCERNS
 
 
  The proliferation of advertizing is going hand in hand with the proliferation of corporate rights over those of individuals. What this means, simply, is that individuals who incorporate or act on behalf of or as part of a corporation are now being favored over those who who did not/ are not .   This is not an example of fair or equal rights for all. We had better start paying attention and changing the nature of this trend .

Here's an example of advertizing on individual houses .........  

http://realestate.aol.com/blog/2011/04/07/shill-on-a-shingle-billboards-finally-hit-houses/?icid=main%7Chtmlws-main-n%7Cdl8%7Csec3_lnk3%7C209304

     Please feel free to send your  information to us  and please be sure to  tell us about any information you believe to be incorrect - write  lel@abingtoncitizens.com

 
 

BROKEN LINKS ALERT  

Abington Township recently completely revamped their website at the end of 2015 . All links directed to the old site were broken. We will be reinstating links as we find them and if the data is still available.  
Please  let us know if you find a broken link . Send us the name of the link and the page it is on , and if we can reinstate it, we will.

 


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