“I’m trying to save America,” said Robert Sullivan
Sullivan owns Sullivans Inc., a motorcycle accessories distributor, on Route 27 in Hanson. There are five political signs about 12 square feet in size on his property. The signs slam Democratic politicians like President Barack Obama. One shows a photo of U.S Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren wearing a Native American head dress.
In early August, Sullivan was told that the billboard like structures failed to meet Hanson’s zoning bylaw for temporary signs because they’re too big and not ground level but Sullivan’s attorney tried to appeal the decision arguing that the town notice didn’t specify a violation and that they’re political not temporary signs.
During the public comment portion of the appeal hearing Tuesday night, all residents who spoke–spoke in favor of the signs and against how the town handled the situation, such as one Hanson man, “It’s a disservice to the town to say, ‘You violated the bylaw now come and defend yourself.’”
According to the Hanson Zoning Enforcement Officer, Robert Curran, the signs can’t withstand strong winds because they’ve been knocked on to the ground at least four times. Curran says a sign raised more than ten feet off the ground fell this past weekend, “How many times is it going to blow over before somebody gets hurt? They come over and stand them back up like it’s nothing. We’re supposed to learn from our mistakes; nobody’s learning anything.”
But one Hanson mother believes there’s no difference between Sullivan’s signs and political lawn signs, “I go to the end of my road and there’s a lot of political signs across the street. I drive my kids to school every day, the winds blown, the signs are blowing; any of those signs could hit my car, I see them blown all over the place.”
The Hanson Zoning Appeal Board ruled that Sullivan must immediately remove the signs and replace them with those that meet the by law for temporary signs—regardless of the political message displayed.
When Sullivan was asked if he’ll be removing the signs he said, “Well, I have to think about that.”