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Robinson Commissioners Postpone Vote on Electronic-Display Billboards

Commissioners will vote in February to allow digital and electronic-display billboards in Robinson Township.

Robinson commissioners on Monday tabled a measure that would allow electronic and digital-display billboards in the township. 

Township officials have proposed revising the existing ordinance for billboards and signage to include specifics for display lighting and electronic panels. 

The Louisiana-based firm Lamar Advertising seeks to place a billboard featuring an LED (light-emitting diode) display along the 5000 block of Steubenville Pike, though the township's existing policy does not include language specific to electronic-display signage. 

Commissioners tabled a vote on the zoning ordinance amendment until the board's Feb. 4 meeting. 

"What tonight is all about is basically to remedy and add to the existing regulations dealing with LED and electronic billboards," said Lamar attorney David Toal before the vote. 

"It's a simple text change," Toal said. 

Revisions to the ordinance would limit billboards to commercial districts in the township and increase the distance between existing billboards from 750 to 2,000 feet.

Commissioners moved to delay the vote at the request of township manager Aaron Bibro and planning director Rick Urbano, who said they had not yet received correspondence from Allegheny County Economic Development regarding the proposed change. 

Lamar, which places advertising signage on transit shelters, billboards and outdoor benches, first proposed the LED billboard on Steubenville Pike in 2007. 

"This has been going on for four to five years, another 30 days will not hamper the situation," Urbano said. 

Representatives from the nonprofit Scenic Pittsburgh, who were present at the meeting, urged commissioners to vote against permitting billboards with digital displays. 

Members of the group said electronic-signage would prove a distraction for motorists and an eyesore for business owners and residents. 

Nicole Huff, communications director for the organization, said electronic billboards in nearby Carnegie look like "televisions in the middle of the night sky." 

"Sometimes technology can be overbearing," Huff said. 

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