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Argued: March 6, 2001

Conrail c/o Transportation Displays, Inc. (Conrail) appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County which reversed an order of the Zoning Board of Adjustment of the City of Philadelphia (Board) granting Conrail four (4) variances to erect outdoor advertising signs on its property adjacent to Interstate Route I-95 in South Philadelphia (Property). Conrail poses three question for the Court’s review: (1) whether the Recreational zoning classification is effectively a nullity since the Property does not meet the Philadelphia Zoning Code (Zoning Code) requirements to be zoned as such; (2) whether the variance requests from the Zoning Code’s limitations on placement of outdoor advertising signs should be considered under the dimensional variance standards of Hertzberg v. Zoning Board of Adjustment of Pittsburgh, 554 Pa. 249, 72l A.2d 43 (Pa. l998); and (3) whether substantial evidence supported the Board’s findings that if the variances were denied Conrail would suffer unnecessary hardship and that the variances would not adversely affect public health, safety and welfare.

The Property is a narrow strip of land owned by Conrail adjacent to I-95 in South Philadelphia, which is approximately 55 feet wide and 2,700 feet long and is zoned Recreational. Three sets of railroad tracks span the length of the Property; Conrail currently uses the tracks and has no plans to discontinue their use. Parts of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park, a publicly owned park, are located to the north and south. In 1989 Conrail applied to the Philadelphia Department of Licenses & Inspections (Licenses & Inspections) to erect four non-accessory, outdoor advertising signs on the Property. The signs which Conrail sought to erect would have been double-faced and “V” shaped, measuring 14 feet in height and 48 feet in width, and would have been designed to advertise to vehicles traveling on I-95. Licenses & Inspections refused the application because of the Recreational zoning. Conrail appealed to the Board but withdrew the appeal before a decision was reached.

 
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