Billboard Plan Not Winning Any Awards from Neighbors

A top city official said the mayor's office will oppose a plan to erect an 80-foot billboard in Port Norfolk, after residents complained. "We're going to ask the board to deny that without prejudice," City Hall policy chief Michael Kineavy said at Monday's Columbia-Savin Hill civic meeting.

The proposal, for a double-sided billboard in a Redfield Street parking lot, met with criticism from neighbors who pointed to city zoning regulations that call new billboards in Dorchester "forbidden."

Saying billboard opponents "are loaded for bear," Port Norfolk activist John Krall said if the city's zoning board OKs the plan at a March 15 hearing, two companies whose similar proposals were rejected might be encouraged to try again.

"They could revisit their application and say, 'Why this one and not us?' " Krall said.

Lawrence S. DiCara, the attorney representing RSA Media, said he planned to ask for a deferral of the March 15 agenda item, to allow for a more thorough community process, because he hasn't brought his case to the Port Norfolk civic group yet.

But Krall said neighbors might seek to use next week's City Hall hearing to oppose the billboard outright, and resist the deferral.

For the conspiracy-minded, the occupiers of the office building right next to the prospective billboard has raised a few eyebrows. 50 Redfield St. is home to the law firm of Finneran, Byrne, and Drechsler, and the law firm of Dolan, Connly, and Flaherty. The first includes former Speaker Thomas M. Finneran and former City Councillor James Byrne, and the second boasts City Council President Michael Flaherty and former district court Judge James W. Dolan, a Reporter columnist.

DiCara, a Finneran friend since childhood, is also a former city council president. DiCara said he frequently appears before the ZBA, and said he hadn't mentioned the billboard proposal to what Krall called the building's "influential tenants."

-Jim O'Sullivan