Proposed Legislation in Pennsylvania – July 2010

July 2010Newsletters In the Zone

House Bill No. 2085 proposes to add to the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code a Section 622, which could potentially prohibit the location of advertising signs in certain locations.

The proposed legislation provides, in pertinent part, that notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary and except as otherwise provided in the proposed legislation, "an advertising sign shall not be placed within 500 feet of an existing school, public playground, public park, residential housing area, child care facility, church, meetinghouse or other actual place of regularly stated religious worship or State-designated highway."

The proposed legislation does provide, however, that "an advertising sign may be located less than 500 feet from an existing school, public playground, public park, residential housing area, child care facility, church, meetinghouse or other actual place of regularly stated religious worship or State-designated highway if, by majority vote of the governing body for the municipality in which the proposed advertising sign is to be located, the governing body issues the appropriate local permits and gives any other necessary approvals."

Furthermore, the proposed legislation addresses the procedure to obtain municipal approval, providing that "at least 14 days prior to the governing body of a municipality voting on whether to approve the issuance of the appropriate local permits or to give any other necessary approvals to allow an advertising sign less than 500 feet from a school, public playground, public park, residential housing area, child care facility, church, meetinghouse or other actual place of regularly stated religious worship or State-designated highway, one or more public hearings shall be held within the municipality following public notice. All owners of real property located within 500 feet of the proposed location shall be provided written notice of the public hearing at least 30 days prior to the public hearings being convened."

As used in the proposed legislation, the term "advertising sign" means either (a) a freestanding sign that (1) is supported by one or more poles, uprights or braces, (2) consists of 32 square feet or more of gross surface area, and (3) is internally illuminated and visible from a public way that utilizes technology to permit the characters, letters or illustrations to be changed or rearranged by computer, electronically or mechanically, without altering the face of the sign; or (b) an outdoor, off-premises sign on which space is leased or rented by the owner thereof to others for the purpose of conveying a commercial or noncommercial message.

For more information, please contact David H. Comer at 610.397.7963 or [email protected].