SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

April 21, 2014

Billboard companies to float trial balloons in Peabody

(Continued)

“I actually thought it was a very good idea until I tried to contact someone to float me a balloon,” said attorney John Keilty, who represents Total Outdoor. He tried different avenues, eventually talking with a company in New Jersey and learned no one really floats balloons at that height; they suspend them from a crane.

Keilty said his clients don’t want to use a crane because that would require cutting down trees on the property. The likely solution? Helium balloons, which could be purchased at a local party goods store. But there’s another obstacle.

Keilty said that balloon experts told him a 6-foot balloon may have only enough gas to last about 36 hours. He’ll have to float multiple balloons over multiple days in order for the test to be effective. “I’ve got my work cut out for me,” he said.

Kielty said he believes the test will show that many 40-foot tall trees on the property will obscure people’s view of the balloons.

Attorney Athan Vontzalides, who represents the second petitioner, didn’t a return a phone call for comment by press time.

Saslaw said he doesn’t receive too many calls about billboards, but when he does, the sentiments from constituents are usually polarized. “People are either for them or they’re not,” he said.

The signs are nearly all in his ward along Route 1 and I-95, many of them approved over the past two years before he took office.

Saslaw said he will spread the word once the balloons are flying high, and neighbors should receive some form of notice.

You can reach John Castelluccio at 978-338-2527, jcastelluccio@salemnews.com or via Twitter at @SNjcastelluccio.

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