, Salem, MA

Local News

July 10, 2013

Council must decide on Total Outdoor billboard


Total Outdoor first proposed constructing its billboard more than a year ago, requesting a special permit from the council. It was rejected, getting a majority but not a two-thirds vote. Subsequently, the company sued the city. Superior Court Judge Whitehead overruled the council, giving the Beverly-based billboard company permission to construct the 92-foot pole. When that was completed, however, its size and location inspired outrage from city officials and residents.

Complications ensued for Total Outdoor when it was determined that they hadn’t placed the pole where they’d told the judge they intended to put it. It is close to Lowell Street instead of behind the Subway store and down an incline. Convinced that the company had deliberately placed the pole in the wrong place to gain an advantage for their advertising platform, city officials, from the mayor on down, rejected settlement offers.

“I was against it from the beginning,” said ward Councilor Bob Driscoll. “I thought it was too big and unsightly.”

Unlike Gamache, he believes that sentiment against the billboard remains strong, bolstered by the shock of just how big it appeared once it was completed.

“I would think it’s going to fail again.”

Staff writer Alan Burke can be reached at

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