Revere city leaders proposing billboard ban

REVERE, Mass. -- If you’ve driven through Revere you’ve probably noticed a seemingly endless stretch of giant billboard advertisements, but now city leaders are hoping to stop any more of those giant signs from going up.

The city, which prides itself on its close proximity to Boston and waterfront location, is home to the first public beach in the country. There’s now a renewed effort to capitalize on that history and scenery.

“It’s easily accessible to Boston, amazing location and you are feet from the beach,” new Revere resident Andrew Lowry said. “Came up here one day and fell in love with the place.”

Lowry said he’s advocated to have friends move out of Boston to Revere. City Leaders said one of the biggest problems they face with encouraging growth is the city’s image, which includes nearly 100 billboards.

“We have so many billboards it makes the city look a little bit on the trashy side,” Ward 1 Councilor Joanne McKenna said. “It just adds to the stigma of people saying, ‘oh, Revere.”

McKenna is among the lifelong residents fighting to change that image. In a proposal to stop any new billboards from going up, she and other city leaders point to at least three signs mangled during those recent back-to-back storms.

Those damaged signs have not yet been repaired.

“We have wonderful people, a beautiful beach, we’re trying to make it aesthetically pleasing to people,” she said.

The new proposal is expected to be voted on later this month. It would not only ban new billboards from going up, but would also allow the city to fine the owners of existing billboards for neglected signs.

We’re told most of these advertisers own these signs for about two years, so taking down existing billboards would still take time.

The damaged billboards are all owned by Clear Channel. Thursday night a company spokesperson said repair work cannot be completed until a power company cuts off electricity to the billboards.

"Clear Channel Outdoor values the communities in which its billboards sit, and, where local municipalities have granted us legal authority to operate our media to support local business growth. Considering our media sits outdoors, amidst the elements, and was recently subjected to storm damage, we also value the safety of our employees and will deploy them to assess and repair our structures once the local power company has shut off electricity to our signs."