Posted by: Patricia Salkin | July 5, 2014

MA Land Court Upholds Denial of Special Permit for Off-Premises Sign

Sanrose Reality sought a special permit to covert a previously installed sign to a billboard that advertised its business on property it owned next to route 95 (but not on-site with the business use). The zoning board denied the request, finding that while a sign advertising an on-site business is an accessory use, a billboard advertising off-site business is not listed as a permitted use in any district.

The Massachusetts Land Court upheld the board’s decision finding that billboards were not included in the zoning board’s list of permitted principal uses. The Court further found the argument for the use of a billboard to attract business was without merit because the proposed advertisements would not draw business from the highway to businesses in the district, but instead send people elsewhere to the advertised off-premises businesses. The Court also noted that of the three other signs in the district that had been allowed, two of the billboards were preexisting non-conforming uses, and the third was permitted because it stood on property leased by a sign manufacturer. Therefore, the court held that the zoning board exercised proper discretion in denying the special permit.

Sanrose Realty Associates, LLP v Hutchings, 2014 WL 3016328 (MA Land Court 7/2/2014)

The opinion can be accessed at:

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