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Do You Support a Billboard Moratorium in Peabody?

A letter by Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt endorsing a billboard moratorium is on the agenda for Monday’s meeting.

One of the most recent billboards approved. Photo credit: Patch file photo.
One of the most recent billboards approved. Photo credit: Patch file photo.

A moratorium on billboards in Peabody is on the agenda of Monday night’s City Council meeting.

Mayor Ted Bettencourt wrote a letter to the City Council earlier this month in which he said he supported a billboard moratorium.

In January, the council authorized the mayor to enter into lease agreements for two city-owned parcels for billboards. Bettencourt said at the time the billboards could bring $700,000 to Peabody. The parcels were at 3 Newbury St. (near the Holiday Inn) and undeveloped land next off Jubilee Drive.

However, two weeks later, Bettencourt sent a letter to the council backing a moratorium because Peabody has “reached a point of saturation,” he wrote.

“Given Peabody’s desirable location at the cross section of Route 128, Interstate 95 and U.S. Route 1, and given the growth of billboard advertising across Massachusetts, it is no surprise that Peabody has generated such keen interest from outdoor advertisers. With the economy still struggling to pick up steam and state aid to Peabody projected to fall, our shared efforts to generate sorely needed revenue through billboard advertising were both well placed and well intentioned. 

“However, with the billboards previously authorized by the City Council, including your recent approval of two that I had proposed, I believe that we as a City have reached a point of saturation. I commend the Council for taking up this issue and urge swift action in moving forward with a moratorium,” wrote Bettencourt. 

Here’s the full agenda for Monday’s meeting.

Robin February 23, 2014 at 05:02 PM
Yeah the more I think of it the more I think the mayor is on to something here. The billboards the council previously approved, plus the two that Bettencourt just got approved puts us right about where we ought to be in terms of the number of billboards. Any more and might dilute their effectiveness. Plus the money they bring in helps a lot. Thank you.
Dan Walcott February 24, 2014 at 07:17 AM
Proper zoning and spacing clears up any "saturation" problem. Do towns ever say we have a "saturation" in new restaurants? The aesthetic police have worked hard to infiltrate city planning and mayors. Their goal is micromanagement and playing house with YOUR properties. Other medias pile on to the hysteria, masking their fear of advertising competition from outdoor advertising. The aesthetic people will not stop at billboards. They will control what "greenery" or colors and types of building facade you are mandated to use. While I don't feel every property is appropriate for billboards, common sense should be used in city planning. Creative thinking can create a thriving and well balanced city. A moratorium is the in the play book of those organized to kill your property rights. Next the city will take a poll. Then they will skew the results. After that they will justify a ban. Oddly, if history is a guide, the same people who fought against billboards will advertise on them using the monopoly companies, they created with their ban. This has happened many times. Careful thought should be exerted before rushing in.
Paul K Ryan February 24, 2014 at 07:45 AM
Ted was coerced into this moratorium on billboards AFTER he already pushed TOO MUCH water under the bridge….The moratorium should have begun as soon as the lawsuit on the billboard fiasco on Lowell St. was filed…where were our city fathers @ that time ? Were they playing ball with Ted so he could jam those last 2 billboards down our throats…it certainly looked that way 2 me @ the meeting where he got the 9 to 1 vote. And then embarrassed himself by knocking the 1 voter [Mary Ellen Manning] against him. Kudos 2 her for having the only set of balls in the room that night & retaliating with her response to the insult & for her vote against the proposal. She will continue to get my vote @ the polls.
ryan morrison February 24, 2014 at 09:00 AM
It started with store front signs that lit up. We hated those as well. Now this. The only thing i can do is not buy anything they put up there. I wish they would all be taken down. Sadness.
Alan Richmond February 24, 2014 at 09:26 AM
Billboards should be allowed on places like rte. 1 but not near residential areas. However, I do not think they should be allowed just because they are asked for.
ryan morrison February 24, 2014 at 12:12 PM
95 maybe but not rte. 1. On 95 they seem far enough away to miss them if you want to. On Rte. 1 they are low and in your face. Eyesore to say the least. They are planning a few on 128 near the northshore mall. Its getting ridiculous!
Susan Sturgeon February 24, 2014 at 12:49 PM
ABSOLUTELY!!
Dan Walcott February 24, 2014 at 01:00 PM
Many cities put poorly planned restrictions on height. That causes the closer, in your face look. Billboards were meant to be spaced and set up higher as to not interfere with on-premise signs. Ideally it is best to have them roughly the same height visually within a line of site. Engineered structures should be mandated for appearance and safety. It is odd to me that people welcome gas stations, restaurants, shopping plazas, and box stores but gripe about a sign that is quiet and not as large in commercial zones. If billboards shouldn't be "near" a residential zone then neither should a noisy gas station or other business with traffic.
Sharon Fermon February 24, 2014 at 04:56 PM
There has never been enough sign control in Peabody and now it's completely out-of-control with the out-sized and garish billboards in question. Although they might add $$ to the City, it's a deal with the devil because of the eyesores they create. Enough!
Steve February 24, 2014 at 05:04 PM
Yes! finally......this should have been done when the first ultra bright signs started going up. Its a little late now, but that's our goverment for you...always late, except when it comes to tax increases.
Dan Walcott February 24, 2014 at 05:48 PM
I don't feel any city should be leasing public property for any business. When did we start allowing Government to compete with private business? The only thing I see a garish or an eyesore are the power lines in the photo above. If we are banning pizza promotions, why not ban power lines at the same time? The city would look beautiful if it weren't for those power lines.

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