Judge sends Tarentum billboard case back to borough’s Zoning Hearing Board | TribLIVE.com
Valley News Dispatch

Judge sends Tarentum billboard case back to borough’s Zoning Hearing Board

Brian C. Rittmeyer
America First Enterprises is fighting a decision by the Tarentum Zoning Hearing Board in court denying its proposal for a billboard atop a pole on East Fourth Avenue and next to the Tarentum Bridge. Photographed on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019.

A company denied permission to place a billboard next to the Tarentum Bridge scored a victory Tuesday with an Allegheny County judge ruling that Tarentum’s Zoning Hearing Board must determine whether the borough’s zoning bans billboards.

Common Pleas Judge Joseph James issued the single-sentence order in America First Enterprises’ appeal of the Zoning Hearing Board’s decision denying the company’s request to place a two-sided LED billboard at the Tarentum Bridge.

James heard arguments in the case in November.

America First Enterprises, doing business as Oliver Outdoor, had argued it should be allowed to place the billboard atop a pole at 107 E. Fourth Ave. because the borough’s zoning unconstitutionally excludes billboards from anywhere in the borough.

The company cited errors and omissions in the borough’s zoning ordinance and map that it said makes it difficult, if not impossible, to determine where billboards can be located in Tarentum.

Tarentum has disputed that, arguing there are locations where billboards can be put up.

The borough’s code enforcement officer in January refused to issue a permit for the company’s billboard because the land is in a zoning district where they are not allowed. The Zoning Hearing Board had upheld that determination after a hearing in May, prompting the company’s appeal to county court.

Maureen Sweeney, an attorney for the company, could not be reached for comment.

Larry Loperfito, an attorney representing the Zoning Hearing Board, declined to comment on the judge’s ruling “as the matter is now back in the hands of the ZHB for further litigation.”

Loperfito said the case will go back to the board for further evidence and testimony.

“The only issue we will be addressing at a remanded hearing is what was ordered by Judge James,” Loperfito said.

In arguments before James on Nov. 21, Loperfito said the company should not be allowed to bring up the issue of exclusionary zoning because it had not done so earlier.

It was unknown when the Zoning Hearing Board will take up the matter.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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