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Fight over electronic billboard in Robinson could end next month

| Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

A six-year fight over a company's efforts to erect an electronic billboard in Robinson might be over if the owner of adjacent property gets its way next month.

In January, the estate of Richard Lang, which owns vacant property on Steubenville Pike, submitted a conditional use application to the township to put up a regular billboard on its property.

If commissioners approve the application at a continued hearing, Green Tree-based Lamar Advertising Co. would be prohibited from erecting the electronic billboard it has been trying to put up since 2007.

An an ordinance prohibits billboards from being within 750 feet of each other, township Manager Aaron Bibro said.

He said Robinson's engineer said that Lang's application meets ordinance requirements.

A public hearing on the application held March 4 will be continued April 2, when commissioners will vote.

Christopher Lang, executor of his father's estate, his lawyer, Thomas Ayoob III, and Lamar did not return calls for comment.

In 2006, Lamar's subsidiary, TLC Properties reached agreement to buy the Steubenville Pike property from former Robinson Commissioner David Winning and his wife, Lena, contingent upon getting approvals to erect an electronic billboard.

Commissioners granted the approval in 2007, which kicked off several years of court fighting. In June, the state Commonwealth Court upheld a Common Pleas Court ruling in favor of Lang.

Commissioners since have been considering amending the township's billboard law with specific rules for electronic boards.

They tabled a vote in January pending feedback from the Allegheny County Planning Department.

Lamar in November submitted a new application for an electronic billboard, stating the application should not be considered until an electronic billboard amendment is enacted, Bibro said.

But he said that application would not be considered because there is no ordinance allowing the boards.

Lang's application, however, would be processed under the existing ordinance, Bibro said.

Lamar's attorney, David F. Toal, said that his client's application should be first in line for consideration.

He also said Lang's application attempts to obstruct his client.

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

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