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Chelmsford Tells Business To Remove 'Excessive' American Flags

CHELMSFORD (CBS) – The town of Chelmsford says a flag display has gone too far. The issue is their location.

"On Saturday we came out and we lined this with 200 flags in support of our deceased veterans and all the people who have served," says Jon Crandall who works at Laer Realty in Chelmsford.

He's talking about small American flags planted in front of that business for Memorial Day. When he went to work Friday, there was a surprise. "There was a note in the door from the building department stating we had a violation, a flag violation, excessive flags," he says

Flags Chelmsford
Flags on display at Laer Realty in Chelmsford (WBZ-TV)

The problem? There's a town bylaw that says you can't use flags for "commercial promotion."

"This is a commercial establishment located at a busy intersection. It was in the front lawn of that particular property, and in the opinion of our code enforcement officer, the building commissioner, it was a violation," says Michael McCall Chelmsford's Assistant Town Manager.

The town wants the real estate company to take down some of the flags and leave up only what they call "a reasonable amount," but hasn't said how many that is.

Chelmsford flags
Flags on display at Laer Realty in Chelmsford (WBZ-TV)

"We feel this is a patriotic act. It's not about our business. It's about supporting our troops, supporting veterans," Crandall says.

So Friday, they actually added flags to the display. There are about 500 now. "I think the flags speak for themselves. I don't think we need to get into a fight with city hall," says Crandall.

The town hopes the realty company will get in touch so they can discuss the number of flags. This is not the first time the realtors have displayed the flags, but it's the first time they've had a problem. They usually leave them up until the 4th of July.

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