Are Boston Billboards a Public Nuisance?

A Boston judge recently ordered Sponsor Co. to remove these two signs hanging on a Bowdoin Street building.

A Boston judge this week ordered a local billboard company to remove two signs hanging on a Bowdoin Street building.

According to a Boston Herald report, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation had filed a lawsuit in February against Sponsor Co., seeking to force the company to remove two 25-by-40-foot signs facing Cambridge Street and to pay a $ 1,000-a-day fine since Nov. 30, when the company was warned that the signs were illegal because the company lacked the required permits.

In her decision, the Suffolk Superior Court judge wrote that, “Erecting or maintaining outdoor advertising in violation of any provision of [state law] is considered a nuisance” and that violating the law “adversely affects the public,” the Herald reported.

Sponsor Co. representatives reportedly plan to remove the signs and to apply for a state permit, which the company’s attorney said the state should be required to grant according to state law governing outdoor advertising, according to the Herald article.

In December, the Boston Zoning Commission unanimously passed an amendment banning new billboards, signboards and other outdoor ads from Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Kenmore Square and Financial District, while requiring Zoning Board approval for new signs in some areas of South Boston and Newmarket Square.

So what do you think: Are large outdoor signs, billboards in certain areas—or anywhere in Boston—a public nuisance? Do you think the signs distract drivers, invite graffiti or are just an eyesore on the city? Share your thoughts on the issue in the comments section below.

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