Aside from the fact that Catalyst Outdoor Advertising has been in discussion with the township supervisors for 18-24 months regarding the proposed digital billboard at the Clockworks location without the community’s knowledge – there’s the threat of litigation that the township solicitor and supervisors are touting as a reason that the community needs to go along. The implication is that the township could not win against Catalyst because seemingly no one can.
Should our community be held hostage over an electronic billboard ‘welcome’ monument that no one wants and the loss of a historic building over the threat of litigation – an absurd argument! But further – facts do matter – Catalyst Outdoor Advertising does not always win as some would have us believe. We need to look no further than to our neighboring Phoenixville Borough to show us how they stood up when it counted!
A few years ago, the Phoenixville Borough found itself in a similar situation as the Tredyffrin Township community, not wanting digital billboards that Thaddeus Bartkowski III and his billboard company Chester County Outdoor (now known as Catalyst Outdoor Advertising) was proposing.
Back in 2011, Bartkowski used the same argument with Phoenixville as they are now doing with Tredyffrin – claiming that our zoning ordinance was illegal. But herein lies the difference – the Phoenixville community didn’t want electronic billboards and the Phoenixville Council members fought back on their behalf. In May 2014, Chester County Court judge dismissed Bartkowski’s zoning ordinance lawsuit against Phoenixville as detailed by the Daily Local article “Billboard baron loses fight over Phoenixville zoning”.
Just goes to prove that the little guy doesn’t have to finish last – if Phoenixville Borough can stand up to Catalyst why can’t Tredyffrin?
UPDATE: In less than a week since I created the Change.org petition, “BAN the Digital Billboard” we are now at nearly 2,000 people opposing the electronic billboard and the demolishing the historic Clockworks building! Community is voicing its opinion loudly. If you haven’t yet signed, click here for link.
UPDATE: We need “BAN the Digital Billboard & Save the Clockworks Building” lawn signs. There’s a GoFundMe with a goal of $1,000 for the sign order – we’re over half way there with $440 to go — can you help us get to the finish line so we can order the signs? We need to place the order, no donation is too small and can be made anonymously. Click here for the link.
As the municipalities around us struggle with their 2011 budgets, there is depressing news from Phoenixville Borough. Residents of Phoenixville may be looking at a whopping 24.7% property tax increase according to the proposed borough’s 2011 budget.
The 2011 budget deficit is approximately $619K and the Borough Council is faced with a tax hike or spending cuts. Property tax increases have varied over the years – 2010 there was no increase; 2009 saw a 5.8% increase and in 2008 taxpayers received a 14.8% increase. Certainly, nothing like this proposed 24.7% increase! Although there has been discussion of police department cuts in the borough, so far that is only a rumor.
Although on the surface, it would appear that Phoenixville is a success story . . . there seems to be a new restaurant, coffee shop or boutique on every corner, apparently that is not an accurate picture. According to the Borough Council, corporate layoffs, reduced earned income revenue, slipping real estate transactions have all contributed to the challenges faced in the current economic climate. Tomorrow is the Borough’s Finance Committee meeting; here’s hoping for an alternative to the 24.7% tax increase.
Looking ahead to 2011, Phoenixville like many municipalities is struggling. Supporting revitalization is critical for future economics . . . effectively planning and implementing local economic initiatives needs to be a requirement and . . . stimulating local economies . . . all challenges to the newly elected in Pennsylvania. Phoenixville is included in Pennsylvania’s 157 jurisdiction – I hope that the residents can count on help from their newly elected representative.
Our State Rep. Paul Drucker hosted his 2nd Annual Community Leaders Breakfast this morning at the Radisson Hotel in King of Prussia. Last year’s honoree was former supervisor Bill DeHaven; this year Mary Foote, executive director of the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville was chosen.
Sitting among the volunteers this morning, I reflected on how these people are giving back to others and are making a real difference in their community. Many attending the breakfast were from Phoenixville who share and support the work of Mary Foote at the Colonial Theatre. Sharing is the keyword to describe the way in which volunteers approach their work. Volunteers share their skills and talents, even their money. But above all, they share themselves. They know that this attitude is the true measure of success in life and that it makes this community strong and healthy.
Thank you Paul for understanding the meaning of community service and for honoring the hard work of our community volunteers.