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Board again rejects digital billboard on the side of the Expressway

Proposed billboard on side of 93

Rendering of proposed billboard, which board noped out on.

For the second time in a year, the Zoning Board of Appeal has rejected a proposal by a billboard company and the Polish American Citizens Club to erect a digital billboard on club property to beam ads at Expressway drivers - and to help financially support the non-profit club.

The club and Media Partners MRV of Norwell are already suing the zoning board over its rejection of the sign last year. That suit remains pending in Suffolk Superior Court.

The board, which has largely different members from last year, voted 5-2 on Tuesday to reject the proposal for a 14x48 billboard behind the club on Boston Street. Part of the company's request was to approve the billboard despite the normally required approval of the BPDA, which opposes construction of new billboards in Boston.

To try to convince the board to approve a billboard in a city that is officially opposed to new ones, Media Partners said it would agree to take down a large billboard at the Strand Theater in Uphams Corner - and a two-sided billboard at 43 Preble St. just north of the Polish Triangle and would turn off the Expressway sign between midnight and 7 a.m. Media Partners does not own the Strand or Preble Street billboards but the company's Peter McClary said he had signed agreements with the owners of both properties - in the case of the Strand, that would be the city - to take their billboards down in exchange for an unspecified amounts of money. The Strand billboard, originally two billboards that gradually morphed into one large one, has been up since 1918.

Media Partners attorney Ryan Spitz said the new sign would be a net positive for the area because it would mean replacing billboards in residential areas with one next to an Interstate. Although the billboard would be right next to homes on Rawson Street, he and McClary said the sign would use "light-blocking technology" to keep the sign from glaring into residents there - supplemented by the planting of 10-foot-tall arbor vitae trees that could eventually reach 65 feet in height.

One Rawson Street resident, Elizabeth Scibeck-Chaberek, said she would be directly affected by the billboard but that she supported it because it would help the Polish-American club survive. In the lawsuit complaint last year, the club said the billboard would mean a base rental of $75,000 for the first year's lease, with a 3% annual increase every year for the next 30 years - plus 30% of all revenue from ad sales above the base lease.

But Maria Lyons, who lives in Port Norfolk but who says she's a frequent Expressway driver, opposed the sign as a potential danger because it would be aimed at northbound drivers but from the southbound side of the highway even aside from the inherent ugliness of a billboard and the fact that a federal

"This area is beginning to look like Times Square, not world-class Boston," she said. "It's digital graffiti. It's ugly, it's annoying and it distracts drivers."

Through aides, City Councilors Erin Murphy and Michael Flaherty (both at large) supported the proposal, because it would mean removing billboards elsewhere and would support the club.

Board members Raheem Shepard, Giovanny Valencia, Norm Stembridge, Jeanne Pinado and Shavel'le Olivier voted yes to reject the proposal. Board Chairwoman Sherry Dong and David Collins voted against the motion.

Watch the hearing:



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"This area is beginning to look like Times Square, not world-class Boston,"

I don't even know where to begin with the Bwa-Ha-Ha on that.

Maybe I should just go with the Mark Hamill gif from The Last Jedi with the "Everything you just said is wrong"

Voting closed 29

doesn’t like South Boston. The BPDA are a bunch of bigots who want the Polish out so there can be more luxury development at this location. Prove me wrong.

Voting closed 42

Prove me wrong.

That's not how legitimate arguments work.

Voting closed 19

PACC is in Dorchester.

Voting closed 15

95% of the city would point to Bermuda if they were asked to point to "The Triangle" on a map.

This has nothing to do with anti-Polish sentiment. It's a private bar trying to keep the lights on by illuminating the neighborhood at night.

It's absurd and the board absolutely made the right call.

If they really need the money then perhaps sell that massive, mostly empty building and move somewhere nearby with the proceeds.

Voting closed 0

High luminosity digital billboards are far more intrusive, distracting and hard to ignore than the paper one -that’s part of the reason why they are so much more lucrative. They are also energy hogs for those who care about these things.

Blighting a neighborhood in exchange for $75k a year to support a private ethnic club is totally not worth it; glad the ZBA strongly opposed it.

Voting closed 34

Digital billboards are worse, but even regular billboards are a blight. Once upon a time, billboards made sense, but today there is already too much advertising in our daily lives we don't need to see more every time we look up.

It's time for the City to ban all billboards - no signage for services not located on the premises. Ban all new billboards and grandfather existing billboards for a couple of years.

Voting closed 0