| Neighborhoods

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Robinson Township rethinks billboard rules

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 8:56 p.m.

After being challenged in court several times since 2007, Robinson is considering updating its laws to include specific rules for erecting electronic billboards.

“All the township is doing is essentially taking the guidance of the Commonwealth Court in an attempt to modernize its ordinance with respect to billboards,” said Bruce Boni, a Point Breeze-based special counsel representing the township.

After a public hearing, commissioners on Monday tabled a vote scheduled on the amendment until it receives comment on it from the Allegheny County Planning Commission.

Since 2007, Green Tree-based Lamar Advertising Co. has sought to erect an electronic billboard at 5320 Steubenville Pike. After the commissioners approved the conditional use to allow it, the estate of Richard Lang, owner of adjacent, vacant property, appealed the decision in the Allegheny County Common Pleas Court. Lawyers for the estate alleged the billboard would violate numerous provisions of Robinson's ordinance, including setbacks, proximity to a property line of a church, sign size and height limitations.

In June, the state Commonwealth Court upheld a June 2011 Common Pleas decision that favored Lang. Among its reasons were Lamar failed to meet as many as 14 ordinance requirements.

Robinson's proposed amendment, if approved, would extend the distance allowed between billboards from 750 feet to 2,000 feet. It also would expand the allowable size from 150 square feet to 300 square feet.

The amendment also lays out other rules, including prohibiting lights from operating between midnight and 5 a.m., prohibiting the display of animation or movement of the message display, and requiring the messages to remain unchanged for at least six seconds.

Lamar filed a new conditional-use application for an electronic billboard on Nov. 11, but the ordinance amendment would have to be adopted before that application would be considered, Planning Director Rick Urbano said.

Christopher Lang, executor of his father's estate, declined to comment at Monday's meeting, saying only, “We keep winning, and they keep appealing it.”

Several people spoke against the amendment during the public hearing, but none of them was a Robinson resident.

Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.




Show commenting policy

Allegheny Neighborhoods

  1. Neighborhood movie theaters use unconventional methods to draw customers
  2. Arsenal hard cider now served at Soergel Orchards in Franklin Park
  3. Event to offer glimpse of cemetery’s history at Old St. Luke’s
  4. North Allegheny grad earns international recognition for public speaking
  5. Dormont library program to pay tribute to Japanese culture
  6. Mt. Lebanon church plans $2M expansion project
  7. Allegheny County libraries getting upgrade with computer software program
  8. Mt. Lebanon looks to tackle pedestrian safety issue