Pattye Benson

Community Matters

UPDATE: Catalyst Outdoor Advertising Files an Appeal over Paoli Digital Billboard Decision

Just when I thought that the community was home free and that our township would remain free from digital billboards, I find out otherwise!

You may recall that Catalyst Outdoor Advertising (dba “Tredyffrin Outdoor, LLC”) filed two applications in December with Tredyffrin Township – (1) a demolition permit application for the Clockworks building and (2) an application to switch the face of the small billboard (located next to the Clockworks building) to a digital one. Tredyffrin Township denied both of these applications. The demolition permit was denied citing an “incomplete application” – the application was missing the signature of Dale Nelson, the property owner.

The other application submitted by Catalyst was for an “electric lamp changeable copy face” for the existing small free standing advertising sign next to the Clockworks building. There is an existing 30-year lease on the small sign between Catalyst and Dale Nelson.

Last month Matt Baumann, the Zoning Officer for Tredyffrin Township sent Thaddeus Bartkowski a letter denying the application by Catalyst to digitize the current sign on the Clockworks site. The letter included the information about Catalyst’s right to appeal the decision to the township’s Zoning Hearing Board – with a 30-day window to file the appeal.

I learned yesterday that Bartkowski did indeed file an appeal — on the last possible day, Friday, February 22. Yes, just when you thought that the problem was going away, it’s not! With their deep pockets, Catalyst apparently paid $10,000 to go in front of the Zoning Hearing Board and make their case. The next Zoning Hearing Board meeting is Thursday, March 28 and we will have to wait and see if the Catalyst appeal is on the agenda.

In my opinion, digitizing the current sign on the Clockworks property is a precursor to Catalyst going after the two large 20-ft. digital billboards with the reflecting pool. I believe that should Catalyst win their appeal, the other two billboards (Rt. 252/Bear Hill Road and Lancaster Ave across from the BMW dealership) are at imminent risk for digitizing.

It is my understanding that a 6-month agreement of sale was signed between Dale Nelson (owner of Clockworks property) and Bartkowski on December 3, with an expiration date of June 3. No doubt one of the contingencies contained in the sales agreement is the needed digital billboard approval from the township.

Another point in the story is relates to Dale Nelson’s “available” sign located on the Clockworks property. Nelson is trying to rent the second floor of the building (who knew there was a second floor?). At this time, the Clockworks store remains open and its’ business as usual. As the only tenants in the building, their current lease is for the entire building. The owners have not moved and the “clocks sale” does not necessarily mean that the store will relocate.

The battle is not over! And it looks like the remaining BAN the Digital Billboard lawn signs in my garage will be going out for distribution.

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  1. I wouldn’t trust the township on this. They might be stalling until the furor dies down, and will let the billboard in. Someone must know someone in the township who will somehow get this through. The appeals process might be a ruse to let the twp say “we didn’t approve it, it was forced on us by the court” or whoever. Never let up on the pressure, in fact, increase the pressure!

    1. Tom, I’m going to hope that you’re wrong. Always trying to take the ‘glass full approach’ I’m going to believe that the Zoning Hearing Board is going to come down on the side of the community! And we are all going to lend moral support by filling the township building the night of the meeting – lest there be any doubt as to how this community feels!

    1. Thanks Paul — I had just read that article! Just what Conshocken needs at the curve is one of Catalyst’s blinking billboards! According to the article, its to be 15 x 30 feet high — I hope that the W. Conshocken Borough community stands up to Thaddeus Bartowski and his company!!

  2. Thanks for keeping up the fight for our community. The good news is we can prevail and help from our political leaders would be very nice.

    1. This community is going to stand together and fill the township building for the Zoning Hearing Board when Thaddeus Bartowski, Catalyst appears! It’s going to be abundantly clear how we feel!

  3. What can we actually do? Picket on 202/30? Hoping that legal engagements move the needle is a dangerous proposition. Nobody wants that hideous mega TV on the corner of 252/30. The one in West Chester looks terrible, and contributes to distracted driving.

    1. There should be standing room only attendance from the community at the Zoning Hearing Board when they hear Catalyst’s appeal. We know that will be Thursday April 25 is the earliest Zoning Hearing Board date for them to appear on the agenda. I agree that this just cannot happen.

  4. Why am I not seeing anything about Penndot’s role in this sign discussion? It appears that this sign would encroach on Penndot’s right of way and would require its approval. Penndot has regulations that must be met for off-premises billboards along highways. See its Publication 266.

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