Written by Victoria Caruso-Davis
The controversial Celleno & Barnes billboard located on the Cherry Lane trellis was removed Aug. 20.
Last month, Senator Craig Johnson joined with Carle Place residents to oppose the advertisement on the grounds that it was a “disruptive eyesore” that distracted drivers, slowed traffic and was out of sync with the character of a residential community.
“This is a victory for the residents of Carle Place, and in particular the residents of the Cherry Lane neighborhood,” said Johnson. “We banded together and spoke with one voice against this encroachment on the suburban character of this community. We were heard loud and clear.”
Celleno & Barnes COO Darryl Ciambella told this newspaper that the law firm did not specifically select the Cherry Lane trellis and that it had no intentions of upsetting the community. “It was a nice location and meant to help inform people of the opportunity to receive help through our services,” Ciambella stated in a previous Westbury Times article. “It was not our intent to have the community upset with our advertising.”
In an effort to control the types of commercial billboards erected in residential neighborhoods, Johnson has proposed legislation (S.6100) that would require the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), which owns and controls the advertising on Long Island Rail Road overpasses, to be more selective when it comes to what advertisements are erected on train trellises and to develop standards when it comes to advertising in residential districts.
The MTA, according to spokesperson Jeremy Soffin, is in the process of reviewing its advertising policy and “will remove the ad if the location is not consistent with appropriate guidelines.”
According to Peter McDonnell, president of the Carle Place Civic Association (CPCA), prior to the placement of the Celleno & Barnes ad, the words ‘Carle Place’ were featured on the trellis as a means of welcoming people. “[We] asked to have that put back onto the overpass when the MTA repainted [it] but were told that no graphics could be placed on the overpass,” McDonnell said, adding that the community is opposed to any billboard at that location.
“This is a residential area … Our residents treasure our small town oasis, in the midst of the overdevelopment that has surrounded Carle Place, and the CPCA will work to protect the quality of life for its residents,” he said. “Hopefully, the MTA will respect our feelings and keep all future billboards to the commercial areas of our town.”