Robinson commissioners will hold a 6 p.m. Jan. 7 hearing to consider updates to its rules on billboards and to address the growing use of electronic signs for roadside advertising.
Planning director Rick Urbano said the planning commission voted Nov. 28 in favor of revising the code because "they know it's been stale for a number of years."
Mr. Urbano said he developed the changes in cooperation with Lamar Advertising Co. of Pittsburgh, which has been trying for five years to install an electronic billboard at 5320 Steubenville Pike.
According to a letter from Lamar attorney David F. Toal of Millvale, the township code does not clearly outline what the company must do to gain approval for the sign.
Mr. Toal wrote that the proposed updates recognize the emergence of electronic signs as a part of outdoor advertising and address issues raised in prior legal proceedings.
The township zoning ordinance does not address electronic billboards, but the revised law defines it as a computerized digital message panel using light-emitting diodes or similar technology.
Under the proposed revisions:
• Electronic sign messages must be static and remain displayed for at least six seconds. They cannot fade, dissolve or emit flashes or bursts of light.
• The maximum intensity of light on adjoining properties doubles to 3 foot-candles.
• Self-lit electronic billboards may be operated 24/7; display lighting for traditional billboards must be turned off between midnight and 5 a.m.
• The maximum height and length of a billboard increases from 10-by-15 feet to 12-by-25 feet, the maximum surface area doubles from 150 feet to 300 feet, and the distance between billboard structures increases from 750 to 2,000 feet.
Billboards continue to be limited to the community commercial, or C-2, and general industrial, or I-2 zoning areas. The signs must sit at least 500 feet from the property of a school, church or cemetery.
Since March 2007, Lamar has been attempting to install an electronic billboard on property, under sale agreement, in a community commercial district designed for retail stores, service businesses and highway-oriented commercial uses.
Andrea Iglar, freelance writer: email@example.com