Metro

Wellesley resident’s ‘Impeach Trump’ sign gets OK to stay

“I’m very happy to hear this,” Dan Chiasson said late Thursday afternoon of the news that his sign can stay. “I think it’s a really rational and wise decision on part of the town and I thank them.”
Lane Turner/Globe Staff
“I’m very happy to hear this,” Dan Chiasson said late Thursday afternoon of the news that his sign can stay. “I think it’s a really rational and wise decision on part of the town and I thank them.”

Another day, another Trump standoff.

Except this one, in Wellesley, appears to have been resolved.

A man had been at loggerheads with the town after he refused to take down an “Impeach Trump” banner that he put up on his house. Town officials had said the sign is too big and too high up, and if it doesn’t come down, he would be fined $300 a day.

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However, the town Thursday afternoon rescinded the violation notice it had sent regarding the banner, effectively saying Dan Chiasson could keep the sign. The town, in a statement, said it was “prepared to review its bylaw to ensure that it complies with recent Federal Court decisions on political signs.”

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Chiasson, a 47-year-old poet who teaches at Wellesley College and contributes to The New Yorker, welcomed the news.

“I’m very happy to hear this,” Chiasson said late Thursday afternoon. “I think it’s a really rational and wise decision on part of the town and I thank them.”

Earlier Thursday, Chiasson said he was surprised when he came home and found a certified letter from the town in his mail, ordering him to take the sign down.

“Recently this department received a complaint about a sign that has been installed on your home,” Michael Grant, the town’s building inspector and zone enforcement officer, wrote in the Jan. 28 letter.

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Grant said the sign was in violation of the town’s bylaws because it was too big and placed too high above the ground.

“Therefore, you have 7 days to remove the sign upon receipt of this letter,” Grant wrote.

If he failed to comply, he’d be fined $300 a day.

On Wednesday, Chiasson posted a copy of the letter and a photo of his sign on Twitter, and called out the town of Wellesley in the tweet: “Do you really want to try to enforce this?”

Chiasson has lived in Wellesley since 2012. He ordered the vinyl banner from Vistaprint.com for $112.06 last June. The banner measures 12 feet by 2½ feet and is emblazoned with two words — IMPEACH TRUMP — in big red capital letters.

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“I designed it online,” he said. “I did a nice red, white, and blue patriotic design.”

He didn’t do it on a whim, either.

“We live on a main road, and I’ve always made a point of having political signs,” he said. “During the ’16 election, I had a banner the same size made, which read ‘Goodbye, Donald.’ ”

Chiasson hung the “Impeach Trump” banner over some windows on the second story of the house, so the sign would be more visible from the road.

“We’ve had it up off and on since June,” he said.

Before the town’s about-face Thursday, Chiasson said he had no plans to apply for a permit and had no plans to remove the sign, either. He questioned the legality of the municipal sign ordinances that impede political expression.

“It just raises a lot of constitutional questions,” he said.

In the past, Chiasson has had yard signs stolen or vandalized. His house is set back, and he’s found the second story to be the best place to display signs.

“For it to be visible from the road, it has to be a certain size, and it has to be up on the house,” he said.

Chiasson said he’s seen a Trump campaign sign hanging on the second story of another house in town. “I give it the finger when I go by,” he said, with a chuckle, but he still respects the fact that the sign owner is exercising their right to express a political viewpoint.

In case you’re wondering, Trump supporters are a minority in the town of Wellesley. According to the secretary of state’s office, Wellesley College graduate Hillary Clinton received 10,568 votes from Wellesley residents in the 2016 election — compared with just 3,235 for Trump.

John R. Ellement of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.