HomeTop StoriesSign company proposes giant LED billboards on I-395 in Norwich

Sign company proposes giant LED billboards on I-395 in Norwich

May 25 – NORWICH – Driving south on Interstate 395 from Lisbon toward Norwich, pass Exit 18 and when the Lawler Lane overpass comes into view, picture this: a giant 14-by-40-foot digital billboard on the other side of the highway. the highway overlooking southbound traffic.

It’s not there now, but New York digital billboard company Outfront Media LLC – the company that owns the traditional billboards on the downtown Norwich Viaduct showing casino advertisements – has proposed two giant LED signs for the I-395 in Norwich in the area of ​​the new Occum Industrial Center.

One billboard would be placed on city-owned land at 131 Lawler Lane, on the northbound side of I-395, facing north so it can be viewed by southbound traffic. The second sign would be on land owned by the Norwich Community Development Corp. at Canterbury Turnpike in the new industrial park and would experience northbound traffic on I-395. It would be located close to the new access road to the industrial estate.

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Outfront has proposed a 20-year lease with the city for the site at 131 Lawler Lane, starting at $60,000 per year and increasing by 10% every five years for a total value of $1,392,300 over the term of the lease.

Outfront would pay the costs of all permits and maintenance, while the city would be asked to sign permit applications as the land owner, according to the lease proposal.

The proposed lease was presented to the City Council at the May 6 meeting, when the council was asked to authorize City Manager John Salomone to pursue the agreement with Outfront if the proposal is deemed feasible.

But councilors had many questions about the proposal and opted to postpone action until the June 17 meeting to obtain more visual renderings and more information about the project. Council members asked about the meaning of the phrase “if feasible” in the proposed resolution.

Nystrom said “viable” means the billboard project can obtain all necessary permits.

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Outfront submitted a rendering of the billboard on the city’s Lawler Lane site. The sign would be on a piece of land near the highway, 30 feet above Lawler Lane.

During public comment on May 6, Lawler Lane resident Mark Perkins took issue with the billboard, calling it a monstrosity that didn’t belong in the pristine neighborhood. He said the billboard site may need an access road that would attract off-road vehicles and illegal dumping.

“It doesn’t fit in with the neighborhood at all,” Perkins said.

Deanna Rhodes, director of planning and community services, said she could not comment on the specific plan because it has not been submitted as an application to the city. Any proposed billboard would require local permits, and possibly state and federal approvals as well.

NCDC President Kevin Brown said the plan for the NCDC property is also in the preliminary exploration phase. The NCDC Board of Directors has authorized agency leaders to continue negotiations to see if the project is viable.

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The city-owned property at 131 Lawler Lane is a 19-acre wooded parcel that was taken by the city for back taxes in 2015 from former owner Byron Brook LLC – not associated with the Byron Brook firm of the same name that previously owned the land which now consists of the Occum Industrial Center. The Norwich land is not adjacent to the industrial park.

The proposed billboard would use only a portion of the site along the highway. Salomone said the billboard proposal brought the country to his attention. He will ask municipal officials to view the property and investigate possible options. Much of the country is wet, he said.

c.bessette@theday.com

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