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Board to reconsider its rejection of an electronic billboard at Polish-American Club next to I-93

The Zoning Board of Appeal today agreed to reconsider its decision in May to reject a plan by the Polish-American Club on Boston Street to erect a new billboard on a pole next to I-93, not because the club has since sued the board but because its zoning lawyer has since filed detailed renderings of what the billboard would look like, information the board didn't have in May.

The club's zoning attorney, Ryan Spitz, also said he could provide details on an unusual proposal by the club to take down three other billboards somewhere in Dorchester before the new signboard goes up. At the May hearing, Spitz said billboard company Media Partners would take down two-sided billboards at Dorchester Avenue and Freeport Street, but that the other two locations would be determined through consultation with City Councilor Frank Baker and the McCormack Civic Association - and then negotiations with the owners and landlords of the other locations.

The board did not set a date for reconsideration, but the earliest open slots in the board's agenda today were in January.

The club said that revenue from leasing the land for the billboard to Media Partners would help it stay afloat.

In July, the club and the billboard company sued the zoning board because of the way the meeting was rejected: Spitz said he had filed the required schematics with ISD but that they were somehow lost in the ether rather than transferred to the zoning board. Had the meeting been held in person, as in the old days, instead of on Zoom, Spitz could have just handed copies to board members, but the board's current Zoom settings do not allow applicants to "share" files during meetings.

The proposal requires the board to grant variances before the billboard can go up, in part because the Boston zoning code prohibits the erection of new billboards in general, in part because new billboards next to highways are banned unless the BPDA approves them. In this case, the BPDA opposed the proposal.

The Polish-American Club said rental revenue from the pylon and sign would help keep it afloat. In the lawsuit, the club says the company would pay it a base rental of $75,000 for the first year's lease, then increase that by 3% every year for the next 30 years - on top of which the company would also pay the club 30% of all revenue from ad sales above the base lease.



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I wonder how the light blocking technology will work out? I never heard of it which obviously doesn't mean much seeing as I'm not in the advertising industry.

Ain't technology grand?

Voting closed 9

Remember the drive-in movie next to the expressway? They had to be pressured to stop showing adult movies because of the predictable effects on northbound traffic.

Voting closed 12

I saw most of the Frankie and Annette Beach Party movies there dressed in PJs. They'd play the sillier kid type movies or maybe a monster/sci/fi flick first followed by a more mature drama after most of the kids fell asleep. Fortunately I did not know about their foray into X-rated cinema before your post.

Voting closed 5

That was a few years after Frankie & Annette.

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If we are going to play that game, every Dorchester resident should be entitled to a solid cut of billboard revenues, not just the Polish American Club (a private ethnic club) who stands to earn a solid 6 figures a year from this deal while the rest of us suffer the consequences.

"A 2015 government-funded study on the impact of digital billboards along high-speed roadways in Alabama and Florida found crash rates 25 percent to 29 percent higher near the signs than at control sites down the road. Many of the crashes near digital displays involved rear-end collisions or sideswipes typical of driver distraction."

"A 2011 University of Pennsylvania study, Beyond Aesthetics, showed that homes located within 500 feet of a billboard are worth $31,000 less at the time of sale than those located further away. In addition, every billboard in a census tract correlated with a nearly $1,000 depreciation in home value compared to the city average. The presence of billboards reduces local property tax bases. Attempts by town and county governments to recoup these costs through permit fees and taxes on billboards never succeed in offsetting the lost value."

Source and more fun facts about billboards here:

Voting closed 27