Billboard donation idea hits roadblock at ZBA

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Mar. 5, 2008

A plan to procure a $150,000 donation to St. Brendan's School from a building owner in exchange for supporting the continued presence of a billboard in Adams Corner did not make it past the Zoning Board of Appeal on Tuesday.

The billboard over the building at Gallivan Boulevard and Adams Street--home of Windy City Pizza--was long considered an eyesore in the neighborhood. When building owner Arthur Murphy came to the group to garner support for a new cell phone tower for Sprint Telecommunications, the association asked him to include a proviso that would require removing the billboards in exchange for the cell tower.

That plan, approved by the ZBA, didn't go over well with Clear Channel, which leased the billboard. Subsequent negotiations produced a plan last September that would provide $150,000 donation to a local charity. The CGSHA chose St. Brendan's School. At the time the outcome of the 2010 Initiative that reorganized eight of Dorchester's Catholic schools was still unclear. Though the Cedar Grove Civic Association (CGCA) negotiated and approved it, and City Council President Maureen Feeney and Jay Walsh from the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services backed the idea, the ZBA did not approve a change that would allow both a billboard and a cell phone tower on the property.

"Maureen was extremely disappointed with the board's decision today," said Justin Holmes, Feeney's spokesperson. "Even though we have worked long and hard to remove billboards throughout the city, on this occasion the community has said it would be very willing to allow it in exchange for this donation to St. Brendan's."