, Salem, MA

Local News

March 18, 2014

Peabody billboard ban toothless, city lawyer says


Smerczynski did not respond.

Speaking to a reporter, Councilor Tom Gould suggested that Smerczynski was never asked to give his opinion on the moratorium.

The moratorium was not the only legal misstep growing out of the billboard controversy. An earlier vote to limit billboard heights to 60 feet from the roadway is being challenged in court because a clerical error dropped that requirement from the ordinance prior to the final vote. It was likely missed as the paperwork went from subcommittee to Planning Board and back to the council, member Dave Gravel said.

In this case, however, Smerczynski suggested that the council could win in court because it has the right to establish limits on billboards even absent a zoning requirement.

“You’re still not without a sword and shield,” he said. “You do have the ability to address height.”

Alan Burke can be reached at

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