Filing Application for a Building Permit Erect a Billboard In Pennsylvania

In Borough of Dickson City v. Patrick Outdoor Media, Inc., 90 Pa. Commw. 628, 496 A.2d 427 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1985), the appellee filed an application for a building permit to erect an "off-site" billboard on its property. The borough's zoning ordinance allowed signs to be erected only in commercial or manufacturing districts. the signs were not to have a gross surface of more than 100 square feet (commercial district) or 150 square feet (manufacturing district) and, additionally, were permitted only to advertise or call attention to the commercial or professional activities which were being conducted directly on the premises where the sign was erected. The appellee in Dickson City filed an application for a building permit to erect a 300 square foot sign on its property. The application was refused and the appellee then applied for a curative amendment. This application challenged the borough's zoning ordinance on the grounds that it unconstitutionally excluded "off-site" outdoor advertising signs and that the 100 and 150 square feet size restriction represented an illegal de facto exclusion of outdoor advertising signs. As part of its argument, the appellee stressed that the standard sign produced in the industry was 300 square feet. The borough denied the appellee's application but, on appeal, the trial court sustained the request. Upon further appeal, this Court held that the appellee had in fact met its burden of proof by showing a total ban of "off site" advertising within the borough. However, because the borough failed to bring forward sufficient and valid reasons for the prohibition, the Court held that it failed to show that the ordinance bore a relationship to the public health, safety, morals and general welfare. Thus, the Dickson City court held that the ordinance prohibiting "off site" advertising was unreasonable and invalid. The Dickson City court then went on to reject the borough's "alternative argument" that, in the event it was determined that the total ban of "off site" advertising was unconstitutional, it could still properly regulate the size of billboards. Addressing this portion of the borough's argument, the Court stated: We must note, however, that the order appealed from is the|order which dismissed the Borough's exceptions to the trial court's|order sustaining the appeal of the appellee. These exceptions did not specifically contest the trial court's ruling that the size limitations were an unconstitutional 'de facto' ban. As such, this issue has not been properly preserved and is therefore waived. Dickson City, 496 A.2d at 430.