HARRISBURG, Pa. - A state court recently affirmed the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's decision to deny a permit to erect an outdoor advertising sign that was visible from State Route 322.
On April 3, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania upheld the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's (PennDot) decision to deny Kegerreis Outdoor Advertising Company’s permit to erect a sign adjacent to I-83, I-283 and SR 322. The transportation department’s regulation prohibits a sign to be located within 500 feet of an interchange.
The court found that the “Interchange Prohibition” of the Outdoor Advertising Act of 1971, which aims to protect the state’s interest in receiving federal highway funds, applies to both interstate and limited access highways on the primary system, such as SR 322. Since the southern face of Kegerreis’ sign was located within 500 feet of a ramp, which was considered to be an interchange, the court ruled the sign violated the prohibition.
In July 2011, Kegerreis applied for an outdoor advertising device permit from PennDot to erect a sign at 4200 Paxton St. in Harrisburg. PennDot denied the application, citing it was in violation of the Outdoor Advertising Control Act of 1971 because it was to be located within 500 feet of the interchange area of I-83 and I-283, according to court records. Kegerreis appealed this decision. PennDot denied the appeal on Oct. 3, 2011, citing the same statute and regulation.
In February 2012, the parties reached a stipulated settlement. Kegerreis agreed the sign would only be visible from I-83 and I-283 and that the department could inspect it after it was erected. The agreement also gave PennDot the right to take administrative action if the sign could be seen from any other controlled highway, according to court records.
In December 2012, PennDot inspected the sign and revoked Kegerreis’ permit because the southern face of the sign was visible from SR 322 and was within 500 feet of Ramps E and F on SR 322 in violation of the act and the department’s regulations, according to court records. Kegerreis appealed, resulting in a PennDot hearing in which the officer found that department did not err in revoking the petition. This decision led to Kegerreis appealing to this court.
In its appeal, Kegerreis argued the PennDot Secretary erred in adopting the proposed report because I-83 and I-283, the more restrictive highways with respect to regulation of outdoor signs, and not SR 322, are the controlling highways in this matter and that neither Ramp E nor Ramp F are interchanges. The state court disagreed.