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Plug Pulled on Possible Electronic Billboard on West Street, Near Route 93

Local opposition reportedly sends Clear Channel away.

The plug has been pulled on a possible electronic billboard on West Street, adjacent to Route 93.

Given opposition to the sign, Clear Channel is no longer interested in that site, at the Mobile gas station, Board of Selectmen Chairman Stephen Goldy told Town Meeting Monday.

Goldy said Clear Channel is no longer interested in the site after what he described as a “scare campaign” that included “misinformation” about the proposed zoning change and billboard that "pitted neighbor against neighbor."

The sign might have brought the town between $25,000 and $50,000 a year in a “host” fee, a source of revenue proposed two years ago, according to the background to the warrant article, at a town Financial Forum comprised of the Board of Selectmen, School Committee, Finance Committee and Board of Library Trustees.

Area residents told the Board of Selectmen last Tuesday that said they expected their property values would fall if the sign was erected; derided the amount of potential revenue the town might have received from the billboard; and criticized what they said was a lack of notification about the proposed zoning change.

After the Outdoor Advertising Board agreed to allow electronic billboards along state highways this fall, an article appeared on the warrant for Monday’s special Town Meeting, calling for zoning to be amended at the Mobil station to allow an electronic billboard. A regular billboard would be allowed there now with a special permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

The warrant article that would have allowed the zoning change was indefinitely postponed.

Goldy told Patch after Monday's meeting that he and Selectman James Bonazoli met with, but did not negotiate with Clear Channel after the Financial Forum, to "carry forward" the revenue initiative.

M January 31, 2013 at 05:50 PM
I would hardly call members of a community emailing each other to become better informed about the billboard (many of us, myself included, didn't know about it until we got the email), as well as sharing links to mainstream news stories about issues with digital billboards (e.g., NY times, newspapers around the country) and actual, peer-reviewed studies, providing "misinformation" or conducting a "scare campaign". Google phrases like "residents oppose clear channel electronic billboard" or "court orders electronic billboard removed", read what you find, and then draw your own conclusions about whether residents or clear channel is the honest entity here. I congratulate all of us involved in raising community awareness and showing that, just like 11 years ago with community opposition stopping the proposed interchange reconfiguration that would have taken 100 homes, the unified and informed power of the people can result in real change.
Scott Formica February 01, 2013 at 01:11 AM
Just out of curiosity, was the proposed site near the Russel Farms end of West Street on the Woburn border where it meets Washington Street or down at the other end near the mobil on the Wilmington border where West meets 129?
Ron Powell February 01, 2013 at 01:54 AM
Really, I concur with M. The arguments that were made here on the Patch were, for the most part, well-reasoned and fact-based. When I served in local government, we welcomed this level of interest and involvement from residents.
Ron Powell February 02, 2013 at 03:49 AM
4 West Street -- across from Border Road.

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