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City Council strikes down third proposal to move billboard on Lowell Street

Posted by Terri Ogan  August 23, 2013 03:45 PM

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At a regular meeting Thursday night, the Peabody City Council voted 10 to 1 to reject a proposal made by Total Outdoor Corp. to move the 92-foot electronic billboard on Lowell Street to the rear of the Subway restaurant parking lot.

In response to the council's third rejection, Jack Keilty, an attorney for the outdoor advertising company, said Total Outdoor Corp. will appeal.

"Despite input from the court, the City Council is adamant that that's the wrong place for a monopole," Keilty said. "We'll let the judge decide again."

Some councilors said that they're exhausted with the situation after over a year of litigation with the outdoor advertising company, and voting three times against keeping the structure standing.

Councilor at Large Anne Manning-Martin said that the pole does not suit a desirable local need and that the council believes it's doing the right thing.

"It's been a lengthy and frustrating process, but at the end of the day that's democracy and this is how the process works," said Manning-Martin. "We will leave no stone unturned in order to provide the neighborhood with what they deserve."

Total Outdoor appealed the City Council’s first rejection to put the pole up in March 2012, and brought the issue to Superior Court in August. Judge Howard Whitehead ruled against the city, allowing the pole to be built.

The company installed the pole next to the building in January and in response, the city filed a cease-and-desist order preventing further construction work or the placement of ads on the billboard.

In April, the City Council rejected another proposal made by Total Outdoor Corp. to move the monopole behind Subway.

The company appealed and on June 26, after appearing in Superior Court several times over the last year, Judge Howard Whitehead ordered the City Council to start from scratch and vote again on the matter by Sept. 3.

Keilty said he plans on filing the appeal in Superior Court next week.

Terri Ogan can be reached at oganglobe@gmail.com, or follow her on Twitter.

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