“We don’t want to live in Las Vegas” an East Whiteland woman stated at last week’s public meeting, echoing the refrain heard in other communities.The company, Catalyst Outdoors, is proposing three digital billboards on Lancaster Ave and a digital billboard/pedestrian bridge across Route 29 at the Chester Valley Trail.
Sitting at the presentations this month, I heard residents express concerns for quality of life and place, home values, and safety. The company assured residents they wouldn’t be impacted.
We’ve heard that promise before. The same company made that claim in 2017 when they presented plans for two large digital billboards on Route 100 in Exton. Not wanting to take them at their word alone, I led the demand for a full scale demonstration, and we got one, suspended by a crane one evening. This demonstration and our observations were crucial: The impact to surrounding homes was undeniable. The plan was dropped.
It is uncertain what fight lies ahead for residents in East Whiteland and elsewhere. Each township has different criteria. But what we do know is that at every level of governance, a healthy democracy relies on an informed and engaged citizenry.
In this age of digital billboards, we need updated local ordinances and state legislation. We need state legislators who listen to the concerns of their constituents and work to find solutions to protect the communities they serve.