The Revere City Council responded favorably to a presentation by John Perline, vice president of real estate and public affairs for Clear Channel Outdoor, the firm that is seeking council approval of a new 14-by-48 foot back-to-back digital billboard located at 300 Burbank Highway.
Though the issue was sent to a Council zoning sub-committee, the Council seemed to be in support of Clear Channel’s proposal to remove four existing billboards along Broadway and install one digital billboard on Burbank Highway.
Perline said Clear Channel’s proposal would result in a development agreement fee for $750,000 payable to the city over the course of a 30-year lease. Clear Channel would also allow the city 10 hours a month of free public service messages on the digital billboard for the community.
City Clerk Ashley Melnik read a letter from Economic Development Director John Festa expressing support of Clear Channel’s proposal.
Ron Champoux of the Revere Beautification Committee expressed the committee’s opposition to the proposal. Champoux suggested that the City Council develop a new billboard ordinance and place a cap on the number of billboards in Revere.
Councillor Steve Reardon was first to speak about a new billboard ordinance and Clear Channel’s proposal.
“I typically don’t comment on things coming before the sub-committee but I would like to support Ron Champoux’s suggestion that we discuss this – creating an ordinance governing billboards,” said Reardon. “But this is an excellent proposal from the point of view of eliminating some really unsightly billboards in the city.”
Councillor-at-Large Bob Haas said the issue of reducing the number of billboards in the city dates back to when he was mayor.
“Any time you can have a vendor come in and reduce that number by four and give the city of Revere $750,000 over a 30-year span – I think that makes sense,” said Haas. “This is the right step forward, without question.”
Councillor Richard Penta called the issue “a no-brainer,” saying that each billboard should be weighed on its own merits and Lee Burbank Highway is a suitable location for a digital billboard.
Councillor Ira Novoselsky said he agreed with the Beautification’s suggestion that there should be a citywide billboard ordinance. He supports the new digital billboard technology.
“I like the digital billboards,” said Novoselsky. “I’ve seen them on Route 93 coming from Medford. I think they’re a lot cleaner, a lot neater. Taking down those four billboards is a start. I want to thank Clear Channel for the special signs they put for the [Revere] Tornado Relief.”
Councillor Ron Guinasso said the most important of Clear Channel’s proposal was the removal of four existing posters [billboards] in the downtown area.
“This is a great opportunity to [remove the four billboards],” said Guinasso. “Clear Channel seems to be making a great presentation and I agree with everything they’re asking. But if other cities are towns are doing better, then Revere is entitled to hear what the other cities and towns are getting.”
Councillor Charlie Patch said the city should take advantage of the opportunity to remove four billboards.
“I personally like digital – I think it’s neater and cleaner,” said Patch. “Clear Channel has proven to be very cooperative in the past.”
Councillor-at-Large Steven Morabito asked Clear Channel whether it would be running advertising simultaneously on each sides of each billboard.
“The ad would be up for 10 seconds and then it goes dark and a new ad comes up,” said Pelrine. “There’s no movement or animation.”
Morabito also asked whether Clear Channel would consider a proposal to allow Revere non-profit organizations to use the billboards for messages in addition to the 10 hours a month it is offering for free public service messages.
Councillors John Powers, Brian Arrigo, and Jessica Giannino and Council President Tony Zambuto also offered support for the Clear Channel proposal.