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Five Points Billboard Update: State Court Affirms Prohibition

A three-judge panel on Wednesday did not agree that Adsmart should be able to restore its billboard at the junction of Haverford, Lower Merion and Radnor townships.

The Five Points intersection billboard that was removed in March from the Five Points intersection of Lower Merion and Radnor townships may not be replaced, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania ruled Wednesday.

Responding to an appeal from Adsmart Outdoor Advertising, a three-judge panel affirmed previous decisions by the Lower Merion Zoning Hearing Board and the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas.

The Five Points intersection joins Bryn Mawr Avenue, County Line Road and Railroad Avenue, near Bryn Mawr Hospital and next to a Wawa market.

The June 11 brief from Adsmart argued in part that since Lower Merion Township made no effort over several decades to regulate the billboard, it should not do so now. But the judges stated on Wednesday:

"[W]e conclude the Township’s inaction in not bringing an earlier enforcement action regarding the painted wall sign or the vinyl wall sign does not relieve Adsmart of the requirement of proving the existence of a lawful off-premises advertising sign prior to the enactment of 1927 Zoning Ordinance and the continued existence of a lawful nonconforming advertising use from 1927 until 1960."

Haverford Township also has rejected the installation of five billboards from Bartkowski Investment Group, which shares owners with Adsmart.

Wednesday's court ruling can be read in the media section of this article.

Scott Zelov, a Bryn Mawr representative on the Lower Merion Board of Commissioners, issued the following statement to Patch:

This is another victory against unwanted billboards that don’t belong in our suburban community.   The state court has wisely decided that this billboard does not belong in Bryn Mawr.   There are now five legal decisions ruling that this billboard at the 5 points intersection in Bryn Mawr is not legal and can not be there.  It was removed earlier this year, and it isn’t allowed to go back up, despite all of the appeals.

What's your opinion on Wednesday's court ruling? Tell us in the comment section below.

Eric Campbell December 06, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Ah, good catch, Rick, thanks. I eyeballed the map wrong. It's fixed now.
nickoury December 06, 2012 at 09:32 PM
If you want the photograph to correspond to the Map Data inset, then the star should be positioned on the intersection of Country Line Road and W Railroad Avenue, not as it is now at the intersection of County Line Road and S Bryn Mawr Avenue.
JEFFREY December 06, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Now nickoury, let's not be too picky. The star is approximate, not to scale.
nickoury December 07, 2012 at 01:27 AM
The star points exactly to the Wawa signage, which is at a legally appropriate, modified height for it's location across the street from the photo. The billboard space atop of the photographed property has always had some kind of advertising until it's removal earlier this year. That intersection is a modest commercial focal point. It is not residential. You've got institutional, commercial and mixed-use in this small two-block area. Advertising has been there for years, including the billboard space, which should have been allowed to continue as such.
JEFFREY December 07, 2012 at 04:45 AM
Can't argue with you on that, nickoury. I wasn't offended with the ad there. Not sure why it came down anyway. It wasn't an eyesore and didn't offend anyone. Oh well, that's politics for you.

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