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RP resident Mike Gale published a terrific letter to the editor in the Delco Times today. He corrects a mistake in the news article about council’s last meeting (still untelevised I guess?). The letter explains very clearly the zoning ordinance flim-flam the council used to erect the illegal billboard in Hetzel Park.
I would like to point out an issue in the article “Ridley Park zoners deny appeal by residents concerning billboard”, which appeared in the May 21 issue of this newspaper.
My name is Michael Gale, and I am a resident of Ridley Park and live on Collier Circle which is adjacent to Hetzel Park. The article states that the billboard is located behind Hetzel Park, but the billboard is actually located in the park. In fact, Ridley Park Borough Council amended the zoning ordinance on Sept. 20, 2011, for the sole purpose of erecting a billboard in Hetzel Park. It adopted ordinance numbers 1198 and 1199 on this date.
Ordinance 1198 allows the installation of a billboard to be located in the “C-1 commercial zoning district abutting Interstate 95. It changed the setback requirement for the billboard from 500 feet to 120 feet. It also removed a requirement (for this specific parcel only) that a C1 zoned commercial district abut a public street. Ordinance 1199 modified the Borough Zoning Map. It re-zoned a 4,567 square foot section of the park from Interstate Fronting Civic Use to C-1 Commercial.
The billboard located in Hetzel Park has a 20 by 60 foot double-sided face (static on one side, electronic on the other), stands 120 feet tall, and is within 200 feet of nearby homes. It’s important to remember that these ordinances were adopted without the knowledge or input of nearby residents, and we have been negatively impacted by this obvious example of illegal spot zoning.
The Hetzel Park residents will continue to challenge legal, code enforcement, and safety issues related to the placement of this billboard. Periodic updates are available at www.ridleyparkonline.com and www.theridleynews.com.
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