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Auburn residents say they believe billboards near neighborhood were constructed out of spite

AUBURN, Ala (WRBL) - Auburn residents are speaking out against a large commercial billboard being constructed at the mouth of their quiet, residential neighborhood. 

Todd Scholl is running for Auburn City Council and lives near the area. He says Tom Hayley with Hayley-Redd Development began construction after the city council denied Hayley's request for a Limited Development District or LDD.

 "The residents of this community, including myself, believe this billboard is in retribution to his request for LDD zoning, for commercial tract by Farmville and Donahue being voted down by city council. We think he is getting back at the neighbors for putting these billboards up," says Scholl.

Scholl says Hayley filed a lawsuit against the city and city council after they denied the LDD.

Scholl says the billboards are being constructed on Hayley's property that sits inside the county region, just across the street from city property.

"I do believe this is his way of saying, 'I own this land, and this land isnt zoned within the city, this is county land, and I'm going to put up a sign, and eventually put a billboard up that tells the neighborhood what I think of them'," says Scholl.

Several residents say they too believe the construction is in spite of the LDD being denied.

"What he is trying to do and the direction that he went to do it, it wasn't right. It wasn't right. He didn't take any of the homeowners in this area their thoughts or anything into consideration. He just did what he wanted to do," says Sheilah Townsend.

The residents express concerns the billboards will create a distraction to drivers, and overall just look bad.

 "I think it looks tacky and kinda brings the value down to the neighborhood. It doesn't look good on our part. I think he is just doing it, just for his own personal reasons," says Salimah Crumbly.

The company originally hired to build the billboard, New South Outdoor, tells News Three they backed out of construction once they learned of the residents' contempt. They say Hayley then purchased the steel and completed the project himself.

 "We don't allow people to bully our children, and I don't really think I want to allow him to bully my neighbors," says Scholl.

Scholl and other residents are calling for businesses to refuse to advertise on the signs.

"Boycott everything that has Tom Hayley's name on it, including his TK gas stations. This signage cannot continue. What's next for the city of Auburn, and why this?" asks resident RC Whitmore.

Some residents say they will boycott any business that chooses to.

"The fact is, if you put money into these billboards, it propagates what he can do, and if no one buys these, then they'll just be two mammoth structures sitting here empty," says Scholl.

News Three reached out to Tom Hayley and Hayley-Redd Development several times and left messages for Hayley at his office requesting comment.

News Three will update the story once we receive a comment.

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