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Argued: September 10, 2001

Amtrak National Railroad Passenger Corporation and Interstate Outdoor Advertising appeal the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County reversing the grant of a variance that would permit Amtrak to erect an outdoor advertising sign on its property approximately 200 feet west of the eastbound lanes of the Schuylkill Expressway and approximately 670 feet south of Spring Garden Street, in a district zoned G-2 General Industrial.

In November 1999, Amtrak applied for a zoning permit to erect a freestanding, single-face, illuminated, non-accessory, outdoor advertising sign measuring 60 feet wide by 20 feet high to be placed at a height of 85 feet above grade. The sign would be placed adjacent to a two-story building in the railroad yard of its 30 th Street Station property, between Spring Garden Street and the Vine Street exit of the Schuylkill Expressway. The sign would be back to back with an existing sign on the opposite end of the building. Amtrak currently uses the 120-acre property, *fn1 zoned G-2 General Industrial, for railroad and non-accessory advertising uses. The Department of Licenses & Inspections (L&I) denied the permit request on the ground that the sign’s proposed height would far exceed the maximum height permitted under the zoning code and on the grounds that signs are prohibited within 660 feet of an ingress and/or egress ramp of the Expressway and only one sign support structure is permitted on the lot, whereas one non-accessory sign exists within 500 feet of the proposed sign and one or more other non-accessory signs already exist on the lot. L&I noted that the plan showed six existing signs on the lot.

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