Township appeals billboard ruling, places blame on advertising firm

-ROBINSON-


By Jamie Wiggan


Robinson lawyers have appealed a March 15 court order ruling against the construction of six township-sponsored billboards, and are seeking through a separate filing to hold the contracted advertising firm responsible for any damages brought against the township.


The March ruling came nearly two years after national advertising firm Lamar sued the township for allegedly bypassing their zoning laws while approving the signs’ construction.

Lamar – which operates several billboards in the township – claimed the unique arrangement between the township and PTM Advertising puts them at a professional disadvantage.


On the basis of the ruling, Lamar is asking the township to remove the signs and pay its legal fees. The township has issued a barebones appeal notice, but has not yet laid out its arguments. Township Solicitor Jack Cambest did not respond to a request for comment.


In addition to the appeal, township lawyers are also seeking to bring PTM Advertising into the suit and hold them responsible for any resulting damages.

The filing points to an indemnification clause in their contract which they claim “requires PTM to save the Township from all loss that may occur resulting from any act done or omission by the Township that includes ‘… any zoning or other civil challenge made to the use of and location of the [signage].’”


The agreement, signed by the two parties in 2020, stated that PTM would pay construction costs of more than $1 million, and would continue to manage the signs and take in 91% of revenue generated. Per the agreement, Robinson would receive 9% of advertising revenue and would also gain some advertising space in return for sponsoring the signage and branding them “welcome signs.”


The township’s planning commission and board of commissioners approved the signage as “government signs,” which the zoning codes permit with far fewer restrictions than commercial billboards.


A representative for PTM – now rebranded as Right Light Media –declined to comment on specifics but said the firm has sought legal support of its own.


“We feel good in our position right now, and we have counsel,” said the representative, who requested not to be named.


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