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West Kittanning Council to discuss limits on billboards

| Tuesday, April 8, 2014, 1:01 a.m.

West Kittanning Council expects to discuss putting limits on electronic and standard billboards throughout the borough.

Council plans to publicly discuss its sign ordinance for the first time during its May 5 meeting.

Solicitor Andrew Sacco presented council with a draft ordinance in March, which, if enacted, limits electronic signs and advertising, specifically the brightness and hours they can be illuminated.

The board postponed its discussion of the ordinance on Monday night because Sacco was unable to attend the meeting.

Councilman Cliff Neal said the ordinance covers aspects of electronic and traditional billboards, ranging from size and brightness to how close they can be to roadways.

“We need to have a very significant discussion of this ordinance, and we need our solicitor to help us discuss all of our options,” Neal said. “We can't eliminate signs, but we can limit them.”

Borough secretary Carly Cowan said officials have an advertising sign ordinance in place, which limits the size and placement of billboards, but it does not address electronic sign issues.

The draft ordinance would replace the borough's current ordinance, Neal said.

Council began discussing limiting advertising signs when resident Patty Colberg raised concerns over a bright, 12-foot by 40-foot sign installed by Butler's Oliver Outdoor Billboard Signs two years ago. She said the sign, which flashes a new ad every five to 10 seconds, lights up her neighborhood, day and night, making it difficult to sleep.

Although it's too bright, Colberg said she isn't trying to get the sign taken down; she just wants the sign to be turned off at night.

“It's just too much,” Colberg said. “I'm glad to see they're moving ahead with an ordinance, and it may take a few months to see anything happen, but at least council is going forward.”

Council formed a committee in February, which includes Neal and council members Ken Trudgen and Paula Henry. “There are a lot of questions in the draft ordinance that need to be addressed before we move ahead with it,” Trudgen said.

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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