WEYMOUTH — Town officials will meet with residents next week to discuss two approved digital billboards on Route 3, one of which has already been built.
The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 1, in the Abigail Adams Middle School Auditorium, 89 Middle St.
Mayor Robert Hedlund and members of his administration will discuss the history of the project, the benefits to the town and ways to mitigate the impacts of existing and future billboard.
New zoning that the town council approved in 2018 created a billboard relocation overlay district, which aimed to “provide for the removal and relocation of pre-existing, legally established billboards to new locations while achieving an overall reduction in the number of billboards throughout the town.”
The goal was to have all billboards on Route 3A, and one on Route 18, removed in exchange for up to three digital billboards along a stretch of Route 3 on land owned by Bristol Bros. Development Corp. and Lorusso-Bristol Stone Corp.
The billboards would allow the town to strike a deal with Bristol Bros., which holds the purchase option for about 45 acres of land that connects to Gagnon Park off Route 3 near Route 18. Bristol Bros. planned to develop the land, but worked out an agreement to sell it to the town instead to be preserved as open space in exchange for the rights to put up and profit from billboards on their land along Route 3.
The Bristol family and Cove Outdoor Advertising would split the billboard revenue with the town, which would use its share to buy the land from the Bristols.
Three locations have been identified for billboards on Route 3 in Weymouth, and locations at 611 and 613 Pleasant St. have been permitted by the state. The first of the two permitted billboards has been constructed on 611 Pleasant Street.
But a group of South Weymouth neighbors say the digital billboard was built on the northbound side of Route 3, across from their neighborhood, without proper notification or oversight from the town.
Kipling Road resident Amy Kabilian went before town council earlier this month to say the digital billboard has impacted her neighbors’ property values and quality of life since it appeared in April. She said she is turning to the council for help with the issue after months of no action from town officials.
Peter McClary, a consultant for Cove Outdoor Advertising, and company officials last spring agreed to turn the billboard off at 7 p.m. each night while they sort out a solution to neighbors’ concerns.
While McClary has offered to install light-blocking technology and lower the billboard, neighbors want the structure moved about 1,000 feet south, to an area that’s zoned for such billboards. But town officials say that site could also be problematic, and they instead want to put a second billboard on the other side of the highway.
Kabilian said neighbors were not properly notified, and the billboard ordinance was included in a larger zoning package and not given proper attention by town council.