Residents say no to billboards

March 26, 2009 8:31:08 PM PDT
Many voice their concerns over a plan to add billboards along Baltimore Pike. Based on residents' complaints, township commissioners are opposing billboards along their five-lane 40 mile an hour "Golden Mile", calling them eyesores and potential safety hazards.

"It only takes a few seconds for distractions along this road for accidents to happen," a Springfield Township Commissioner Gina Sage said.

The proposed double sided billboards would extend 62 feet in the air, nearly twice the 35 foot height limit for Springfield buildings and they'd measure 48 by 14 feet.

The commissioners contend this is not a stretch of highway offering drivers time to safely take in billboard ads.

"From here, you're so close in proximity, other words, you take a look at that and all of a sudden there's a car coming from a side street," a Springfield Township Commissioner Jim Devenney said.

Some business owners worry the supersized billboard will obscure their signage.

28-year-old advertising entrepreneur, Thaddeus Bartkowski, is trying to erect 6 billboards in Springfield as well as several others in Marple and Haverford Townships and has met resistance there, too.

Bartkowski Investment Group issued a statement saying they're "seeking the right to construct outdoor advertising along the "commercialized area" and "hope to come to an amicable resolution with the township."

They challenge the township's 24-year-old ban on billboards. Bartkowski and his attorney say that arugment doesn't hold muster as Baltimore Pike is already flush with signage.

Action News tried to speak with Bartkowski, but he refused our request for an on-camera interview.

The zoning board says there will be other hearings on the matter and the dispute could continue for months.

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