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Battle Over Lowell Street Billboard Back in Court

The entertainment company that erected the billboard says it would cost $200,000-$250,000 to relocate the pole behind the building where the city wants it.

Rather than just take the 92-foot pole down and move it, Total Outdoor Corp. is taking the city back to court on that new billboard towering over Lowell Street.

City Solicitor Michael Smerczynski said the company's response to the cease and desist order from the city last month was there was a mix-up in the version of plans filed in court and the company is unwilling to spend the $200,000-$250,000 necessary to relocate the pole behind the building at 532 Lowell St.

Smerczynski said a second stop work order has actually been issued because the pole is still 6 feet off from the other plans that do show it attached to the side of the building.

Those plans were part of the special permit application the City Council originally denied last May.

The city contends that the plans submitted in court -- when a judge ruled in the company's favor -- showed the pole located in the rear of the property, theoretically out of sight of Lowell Street.

Those same plans were then included with the permit approved by the council in the fall.

Smerczynski said there has already been one court date after the city shut down activity at the site and the case has been continued until March 7 for now. He said a judge has made it clear there will be "no quick decisions" to resolve the dispute.

He said no agreements have been made by the city -- the goal is still to have the pole moved to the rear of the property.

The tricky part now, which may or may not favor Total Outdoor Corp., according to Smerczynski, is that a court judge can look at the situation with fresh eyes.

He said due to the case now being a "de novo appeal," a judge doesn't have to consider the council's initial denial of the special permit nor even the court judgement this past fall. It's essentially a new case.

"[The company] put it (the pole) where it doesn't belong no matter how you look at it," says Smerczynski, which is what he's hoping the judge agrees with.

Leslie Schwartz February 19, 2013 at 04:13 PM
Move the sign, please. It is a real eyesore to the area and for those of us that live near it. PLEASE !!!
Saber Walsh February 19, 2013 at 07:28 PM
Pardon my language, but what a bunch of sleazebags. Not only should they be forced to relocated the sign to where the court approved and permit allowed, they should be hit with our court costs -- the Peabody taxpayer is subsidizing these low-lives, and maybe we could get the court to say, "Take it down and GET OUTTA TOWN!"
Jerry Fitzgerald February 19, 2013 at 10:40 PM
Who is the unelected Judge who overruled our elected council, and thereby the will of the people? Also, who is the attourney representing Total Outdoor corp.? Are they local, and what are the reasons, for their complete disregard for The People of Peabody.
Janna Preman February 19, 2013 at 11:32 PM
Not only should Total Outdoor Corp. pay to relocate the pole and sign, but also they should be fined for having 2 different sets of blueprints. It has to come down. This monstrosity cannot stay where it is. I understand it should be put behind the Subway building, but I would rather not have it put back up at all. There are enough billboards and signs in the area. We are quickly becoming urban area. Our property value has gone done significantly, and we didn’t need any help considering the real estate market. What ever needs to be done to get this stopped and moved, know that we are behind it 100% and anything that that we can do to help, we will.
Nancy Preman February 20, 2013 at 03:22 PM
Yes, the billboard must come down. This monstrosity is a blight on this area and I can't understand how a Company can feel they can just go ahead and put the billboard where they want it and ignore the plans that were shown to the City of Peabody.
dmarie February 20, 2013 at 10:29 PM
I live at Ledgewood Way Condominiums, Building 1 and have since June of 2000 and like all of us over the years have seen more and more businesses pop up which is to be expected; however, never, ever, ever did I think it would be possible to have that double billboard be placed where it is . That 92 foot stack pole and double billboard belongs on Route 1 or the Mass Pike but not on Lowell Street. And yes there are signs (not double billboards) on Lowell Street but in no way compare to that monster, Hess sign isn’t that big, Bonkers sign although ugly isn’t outrageous, then there is Sunoco, Sam’s Mart, Rent a Tent. Lowell Street isn’t Route 114 there are residential homes on Lowell Street and residential neighborhoods off Lowell Street. That double billboard must come down and if you are in agreement I urge everyone to write or email to the Mayor and City Councilors to show your support
Carl E. February 21, 2013 at 12:23 AM
Drive by this thing every day and agree that it is a horrible eyesore that needs to come down! My first thought was "who did they pay off to get permission to erect this thing?" Probably the same person that allowed the dunks to sneak into the Lynnfield Street plaza! THAT BEING SAID....fighting to move it six feet isn't going to do anything except cost the city money. It is still going to be a monstrosity....just six feet further back. Not worth the fight UNLESS they are fighting to get rid of it altogether!
Carl E. February 21, 2013 at 12:33 AM
Sorry...but the Bonkers sign is utterly obnoxious....and, now that I think of it, will set a precedent for future billboards in that area. How can any court deny a billboard when all the bb owner has to do is say "well how did they allow that sign?!" I'm starting to think this thing is here to stay...hope I'm wrong!
dmarie February 21, 2013 at 12:19 PM
An update for the residents of Bourbon Street, Ledgewood Way and Lowell Street regarding the billboard I, along with several other residents of the Ledgewood Condominiums have sent letters, emails, and phone calls to the Mayor of Peabody as well as all of our City Councilors regarding the removal of the ninety two foot double billboard sign placed on the side of Subway, Lowell Street. I would like to inform the residents of Peabody of the exceptional response time of the leaders of our City. I have received emails and phone calls from both the Mayor and several Councilors. No false promises, just acknowledgement of my concern and advise as to what else local citizens might do to pursue this issue. I have been assured that singly my voice has been heard but everyone has a voice and your voice should be heard as well. If you are in opposition to this billboard please let your voice be heard. Write a letter, send an email or make that phone call. Don’t let an outside entity come into our City and lower the value of our property by erroneously placing a double billboard. Residents of Peabody – stand tall and be heard!
Calvin February 25, 2013 at 12:32 AM
These days that seems to be the norm, the people vote on something and judges rule against the people! Welcome to the new USSR. I hope a vigilante implodes the damn thing.
Calvin February 25, 2013 at 12:38 AM
I too live at Ledgewood and I agree with Carl E., I would love the Bonkers sign come down as well and better yet, I would like Bonkers to go away as well.
dmarie February 25, 2013 at 03:20 AM
Calvin I truly hope you did sign the petition that is posted in all the lobbies and encourage other residents in your building to sign as well. Bonkers sign yes ugly but its been there for so long that let it stay if you may recall Bonkers wanted to erect it and make it larger and the Councilors turned it down about a year or so ago and they weren't allowed. However, if this new one is allowed you can bet for sure Bonkers will go back again and request a larger sign :( so everyone that has posted please don't give up we can fight this. As far as Bonkers they do contribute to our taxes offer a way for parents to take their kids too and have some fun, this Outdoor Company from Seatte Washington only cares about $$$$ not the Community again Bonkers is away to offer kids to spend time and have fun. Please do not give up on this fight, do not just look at the 92 foot stack pole and double billboard and give up, I haven't and will not please join in on this and write a letter or send an email voice your outrage on this monstrosity and say no you are not welcome. This devaluates our property and well being... again please, please join in and speak your voice not just on the Peabody Patch but to the Mayor and City Councilors who are fighting for us an help them help us.....
Calvin February 26, 2013 at 03:37 PM
I have signed the petition in fact, I was one of the first ones who did. We now have a Subway store, yay...NOT. More traffic comes to Lowell St, just what we want. I also see that a piece of land is for sale now next to Subway and the monstrous billboard. Whats next, a Walgreens?

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