[Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect a correction. The correct height of the monopole is 92 feet.]
Mayor Ted Bettencourt says an entertainment company that has erected a 92-foot tall billboard off Lowell Street has installed the pole in the wrong place, and as a result, it's in full view by the neighborhood.
Bettencourt says that according to plans filed with the city and in court -- a judge overturned the City Council's original denial of the special permit for the billboard -- the pole should have been installed behind the building at 532 Lowell St. not on the side of it. He wants Total Outdoor Corp. now to move the pole to the right spot.
Bettencourt directed building inspectors to issue a cease and desist order Thursday afternoon to shut down the site. The pole was erected Tuesday and the billboard went up Wednesday, but no sign was installed yet.
"I insist they do the right thing...I just want to make sure it's put up where it's supposed to go," he said, adding that he expected to be hearing shortly from the company or its attorney.
The problem is that now the pole and billboard are very visible to Lowell Street traffic and to the rest of the neighborhood, instead of just on Route 1. Bettencourt said he's received multiple phone calls about it -- he has to drive by it himself every day to and from work.
The stop work order, assures Bettencourt, just stems from the company's promise, and the plans, that the billboard and pole be located out of sight of Lowell Street traffic, not in plain view.
The council rejected the permit last May on a 6-5 vote and the company then appealed in court and won, a judge ruling that there was no legal reason to deny the permit, given other similar signs in the area, particularly the sign across the street for Bonkers. The new sign, however, towers above that one.
That, and a statewide effort to revise zoning laws on billboards, led to the city revising its own regulations this past fall, effectively limiting new billboards to Route 1 and I-95.
The property is owned by David Belleau and a Subway shop is opening there soon.