South Howard billboard challenged by neighbors

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Neighbors in one South Tampa community are banning together to speak out against a new billboard they're calling an eyesore.

The structure just went up Thursday on South Howard Avenue near Azeele Street and neighbors say it's too big and doesn't belong in the area, surrounded by several residential neighborhoods.

"That's something that belongs on 275. That's how big it is," said Cathy Francoeur. Francoeur attended Thursday's city council meeting to tell council members about her concerns over the sign.

"They didn't ask the neighbors. They don't take into consideration what the neighbors would think about it," said Francoeur.

Barry O'Connor, co-owner of MacDinton's leases the land to the billboard company. It sits just above the pub. O'Connor says he doesn't see why the billboard is a problem, calling it a commercial advertisement in a commercial area.

Other billboards in the South Howard area are much smaller than the new ad. The one that stood in its place was nearly half the size.

Neighbors want the city to check into the permitting process and make sure city guidelines were followed. O'Connor says the media company got all the proper permission, but city council members, who would have to approve the billboard, said they weren't familiar with granting permission.

"This is the first I've heard about this and to my knowledge we did not approve this billboard," said councilman Harry Cohen.

It's unclear if the city will allow the billboard to remain standing.