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 Channelâ€™s proposal to remove four existing billboards along Broadway and install one digital billboard on Burbank Highway.
Perline said Clear Channelâ€™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 Channelâ€™s proposal.
Ron Champoux of the Revere Beautification Committee expressed the committeeâ€™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 Channelâ€™s proposal.
â€œI typically donâ€™t comment on things coming before the sub-committee but I would like to support Ron Champouxâ€™s suggestion that we discuss this â€“ creating an ordinance governing billboards,â€ said Reardon. â€œBut this is an excellent proposal from the point of view of eliminating some really unsightly billboards in the city.â€
Councillor-at-Large Bob Haas said the issue of reducing the number of billboards in the city dates back to when he was mayor.
â€œAny 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 â€“ I think that makes sense,â€ said Haas. â€œThis is the right step forward, without question.â€
Councillor Richard Penta called the issue â€œa no-brainer,â€ 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 Beautificationâ€™s suggestion that there should be a citywide billboard ordinance. He supports the new digital billboard technology.
â€œI like the digital billboards,â€ said Novoselsky. â€œIâ€™ve seen them on Route 93 coming from Medford. I think theyâ€™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.â€
Councillor Ron Guinasso said the most important of Clear Channelâ€™s proposal was the removal of four existing posters [billboards] in the downtown area.
â€œThis is a great opportunity to [remove the four billboards],â€ said Guinasso. â€œClear Channel seems to be making a great presentation and I agree with everything theyâ€™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.â€
Councillor Charlie Patch said the city should take advantage of the opportunity to remove four billboards.
â€œI personally like digital â€“ I think itâ€™s neater and cleaner,â€ said Patch. â€œClear Channel has proven to be very cooperative in the past.â€
Councillor-at-Large Steven Morabito asked Clear Channel whether it would be running advertising simultaneously on each sides of each billboard.
â€œThe ad would be up for 10 seconds and then it goes dark and a new ad comes up,â€ said Pelrine. â€œThereâ€™s no movement or animation.â€
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.