Oh No! Catalyst Appeals Digital Billboard Decision to Chester County Court of Common Pleas!

With fingers-crossed I had hoped that Catalyst Outdoor would just accept the denial by Tredyffrin Township and its Zoning Hearing Board for a digital sign in Paoli and just walk away … sadly they did not!

With a thirty day window to appeal the township’s decision, Catalyst Outdoor has just done that – and late this past Friday submitted their appeal application to the Chester County Court of Common Appeals! Now it is no longer in the hands of Tredyffrin Township — it moves to the Common Pleas judges and we wait.  This is so wrong!

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30 Comments

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  1. So appreciate the update. Agree completely. When and where do we need to show up to reverse an appeal?

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    I don’t know how long it will take for the Catalyst appeal to get on court schedule – but will try to keep all informed. Not the out come I was hoping for :(

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    Barbara Cohen Reply:

    Pattye, thanks very much for the update. It is awful that they are appealing what the township denied. Please keep me in the loop regarding the outcome.

    Warm regards
    Barbara

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    Pattye Reply:

    Thanks Barbara, good to hear from you!

    NotSoFast Reply:

    It’s their right to do so, isn’t it? As the former chair of the Schuylkill Township Board of Supervisors, you can appreciate that. Your township was always more progressive than Tredyffrin. A good example is open space. When you all wanted to curb development, you’d allocate public $ for open space. That would never fly historically in Tredyffrin. Now that it’s under absolute Democratic control, that may change, but I doubt it.

  2. Is there a trial de novo in CCP or does it review based on the record and decision in the Township? If the latter, I hope the court gives due deference to the township.

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    Pattye Reply:

    It is my understanding that the courts will decide — whether its a trial or if they review Tredyffrin Twp decision, Zoning Hearing Board decision and the many, many hours of public testimony. The ZHB alone included three separate meetings of testimony — not one single person from the public supported the digital sign application. Will that be sufficient with the Common Pleas judge?

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  3. This is not a surprise. Catalyst is attempting to bully our community. It is so obvious. I am hoping that a good judge in Chester County will see this as an attempt to impose on Tredyffrin.

    By the way, the sign ordinances need to be revised

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    Pattye Reply:

    Agree. It has been 15 months since Catalyst first came to a public meeting in Tredyffrin Township – it is mind=boggling why the sign ordinance has not been updated to specifically BAN digital billboards.

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  4. Deep pocket companies don’t just give up.

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    Pattye Reply:

    A quote from a recent press release about Catalyst and its owner Thaddeus Bartkowski —
    “Catalyst works closely with communities to understand their needs in order to develop solutions at no cost to taxpayers. The solutions frequently transform under-utilized property into a community asset that combines art, architecture, and advertising in a unique way.”
    I’d say re your digital billboards, “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”!

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  5. I think it’s time for the township to create a Digital Image Tax/Fee. At least if something is in place & Chester County does not decide on the townships favor, our community will at least financially benefit, and/or make it to cost prohibitive. The fact that Catalyst is pushing so hard, means they stand to make a pretty penny off of it. I suspect this will not be the first or last time the township will encounter this issue. Let’s at least be proactive.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    Now there’s an idea — a tax/fee for digital billboards :) First, we have to get the township to update the township sign ordinance to PROHIBIT digital billboards.

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    NotSoFast Reply:

    That wouldn’t be legal.

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    Liza Jane Bernard Reply:

    I’d much rather a strict policy to a limited number of simple single color characters within a strict modest maximum frame size with only a modest fee/tax, if any. Fees and taxes aren’t going to make a company like catalyst even blink. The point should be to keep to a tasteful and modest use of anything digital…in keeping with the nature of our community.

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  6. Pennsylvania’s Court of Common Pleas is not an appellate forum, so this likely becomes a trial de novo (I’m fairly sure), so a clean slate is where the parties will start, except any transcripted, sworn testimony – and related documents – are admissible as evidence. To be honest, this matter wasn’t going away, and Catalyst is likely happier that it is out of the hands of a local zoning commission, and in the court system, where the rule of law applies.

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    Pattye Reply:

    hmmm – OK, this is not what I was told but I’m not an attorney. Onto the Court of Common Pleas which is clearly beyond my pay grade!

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    Keith Reply:

    “If, upon motion, it is shown that proper consideration of the land use appeal requires the presentation of additional evidence, a judge of the court may hold a hearing to receive additional evidence, may remand the case to the body, agency or officer whose decision or order has been brought up for review, or may refer the case to a referee to receive additional evidence…”
    https://dced.pa.gov/download/pennsylvania-municipalities-planning-code-act-247-of-1968/

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    Pattye Reply:

    Thanks Keith.

    [Reply]

    Keith Reply:

    The appeal is not yet up on the Chester County Prothonotary’s website. The filings can accessed for free at any one of CC’s libraries. (CescoPIN)

    Pattye Reply:

    OK, good to know. I wonder if they assign a judge at the same time that the case is listed.

  7. Hi Pattye,

    Wow! Big day for Community Matters yesterday! Good thing the affects of the Keto diet get me up before the crack of dawn or I wouldn’t have time to read everything.

    Disappointing news about Catalyst but not surprising. Let us know what we can do and when to keep fighting this thing.

    Even though the proposed site of the Board is located in Tredyffrin, I think the location, facing Easttown and close to the Township border, affects us more.

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  8. Strange that Nelson is putting a bunch of work into the building. Drive past every morning. New paint, siding, fence, plus whatever is going on inside. Not to mention it’s listed for lease.

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  9. I told you so. This was foreseen. Every ZHB decides against catalyst on the same rationale. Catalyst always appeals and they always win. In this case, there is nothing that differentiates Tredyffrin from Westtown.

    Is that building historic? It’s allegedly old. What significant event happened there?

    You can’t expand the building. Highest and best use is likely what Catalyst seeks to do.

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  10. It is very wrong!!! The people don’t want an unnecessary huge sign!! What don’t you ninkinpoops understand???? Someone already has painted over the beautiful stone on the old bldg with ugly clay color painting 😡

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    I do not understand why the owner of the Clockworks building thought it would be a good idea to “modernize” it with a muddy grey makeover — apparently that is supposed to make the property more rent-able? Jut my opinion — but I think not.

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    NotSoFast Reply:

    Ever see the color motif Catalyst uses?

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    Sorry, not sure what you are talking about.

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