Design Review Board Reaffirms ‘Hate Has No Home Here’ Signs OK, at One Square Foot or Less

by Dave Emke September 20, 2017 at 11:30 am 31 Comments

A 12 inch-by-12 inch sign reading that “Hate Has No Home Here” can stay in the Orchard Green Cluster, Reston’s Design Review Board says, despite the cluster president’s stance that it should be removed for its political nature.

During their meeting Tuesday (video), the DRB rejected an appeal of an August ruling by a three-member panel that the sign is OK for display as long as it is no bigger than one square foot. That came after the Orchard Green Cluster board had asked for a 2 foot-by-3 foot sign displaying the message to be removed.

Tuesday night, Orchard Green Cluster President Dan Pennington told the full DRB that the ruling should not have been made based on the sign’s size, but rather on the political nature of its message. According to Reston Association’s rules for small yard signs, temporary political signs up to 2 feet by 3 feet are allowed to be displayed, but must be removed “no later than one week after announcement of election results.” Orchard Green Cluster’s board voted on the sign, displayed in the yard of resident Rikki Epstein, at their June meeting and “voted to request its removal under the general RA Signs rules.”

“Fundamentally, what you’ve done for our cluster is establish a design guideline that anybody can put up a 12-by-12 [sign], regardless of content [and] regardless of quantity, [with] no limitation and no content issues,” Pennington said to the DRB said. “It’s an untenable standard going forward for our cluster. … I would say it’s a misreading of the rule.”

Pennington suggested that if this sign is allowed to remain indefinitely, another resident could put up numerous one-square-foot signs reading “Trump is President: Get Over It” with each sign displaying only one letter of the message.

“Do you have a limiting principle?” Pennington asked the DRB. “This is a political sign and it should have been adjudicated under the political-sign standard and not the 12-by-12 standard.”

DRB members, along with their legal counsel Wil Washington, said there was no misreading of the rule when the panel informed Epstein she could display a 12- by 12-inch version of the sign, as the size rule overrides the political rule. They also said Pennington’s example of numerous signs with one letter each was hyperbolic, as the rules refer to “the sign” in the singular form.

“The content [of the sign] is irrelevant — the regulations say what they say,” said Nick Georgas, landscape architect member of the DRB. “I don’t think it’s this board’s job to determine what the content of that one-square-foot sign is.”

Pennington said his cluster board is working to pass its own rule that signs of any kind not be allowed, except for home-security signs and “other minor exceptions.”

“We simply don’t want signs in our cluster,” Pennington said.

Image via Hate Has No Home Here website

  • John Smith

    Oh would you look at that. The left bending the rules for themselves as always. I hope you get robbed

    • John Smith is a Pussy Name

      And we hope you die of cancer.

      • The Constitutionalist


  • IllegallyLivingInReston

    Freedom of speech on your own property unless the Reston Design Review Board says otherwise.

    “Pennington suggested that if this sign is allowed to remain indefinitely, another resident could put up numerous one-square-foot signs reading “Trump is President: Get Over It” with each sign displaying only one letter of the message.”

    Yes, that is their right to do so. People will never be 100% happy with how other people conduct their own lives on their own property, or rented property (which at that point it’s the landlord’s problem, not the neighbors)

    This whole “debacle” is embarrassing to an incredible degree and truly a sign that Reston has run out of real issues to deal with. Are flags acceptable? If the HHNHH language was transposed to a flag would the county have a conniption?

    Can I hang a banner in my window that says “Fairfax County Government is Embarrassing?”

    Jesus I feel like Mike M now.

    • The Constitutionalist

      Sound like him too. What is happening?

      • IllegallyLivingInReston

        Who’d have thought that all it took for Mike M and I to agree on something was a trivially stupid and monumental waste of time nonissue.

        If the problem is that it was handed out by the Dem Party of Fairfax County, does this mean that if I print my own signs and sell them, that makes it non-political? Because if so, I could use the extra money.

        • The Constitutionalist

          What would the signs say?

          • Mike M

            Mike M Has a Point.

          • IllegallyLivingInReston

            I prefer “Pizza Has No Home Here”

            Orchard Cluster did say home security signs would be allowed.

          • Why do you bother?

            Only on the top of his widdle head, bless his heart…

          • IllegallyLivingInReston

            The sign would say

            MIKE M FOR SHERRIF [sic]

            Just so you know.

          • IllegallyLivingInReston

            Mike M, you didn’t need to copy my name to say this.

      • Mike M


    • Ken Fredgren

      Let’s not take Jesus’ name in vain. Or, did you mean it as a prayer? “Hate has no home here” is a perfect Christian saying.

      • Mike M

        OK, godhead. Try John 8:7.
        He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone
        Those signs are casting stones at their political opponents.

    • Chkitout1

      I’m going to get blue signs made up very similar to these signs. My signs will say hate has no home here and underneath that message the sign will have MAGA. Let the DRB tell me to take my sign down and we’ll go to court.

  • pizza monster

    To me, that sign screams “I don’t have a way to defend my home”. I hope the resident is careful about then when ordering or storing a pizza…

    • meyerweb

      If it’s political, what party is taking the “Hate is welcome here” position? I guess that is the Mantra or today’s Republicans?

      • Mike M

        Thanks for the clarity. So, people who don’t agree with you are “haters.” Simple!

        You see, Meyer, that is the silliness of these signs in the first place.

        • meyerweb

          Reading comprehension not your strong suit, eh Mike? I said no such thing. Try again.

          • Mike M

            “Hate is welcome here” position? I guess that is the Mantra or today’s Republicans.”

            Your words. Comprende?

  • Guest

    Is there a constitutional argument to be made here on behalf of the homeowner who posts the sign? Does the homeowner have a First Amendment right to erect such a sign on his/her own property, regardless of HOA rules? Where is a lawyer when you need one?

    • Mike M

      Psst! They are everywhere! But you never really need one. Copperheads are as abundant in the warmer months and the pain of their bite has limits.

    • Why do you bother?

      There is something to be said for the argument that RA is a defacto governmental body. However, the first amendment says CONGRESS shall make no law…so, when you choose your neighborhood, you choose your HOA with it.

  • TheRealMikeSapupello

    I’d like to hear from Ray Wedell on this…

  • Why do you bother?

    That would be one foot square, not one square foot.

  • Evidently

    Can of worms. The whole issue. Best ignored.

  • Mike M

    Good bet.

  • Pay That QB His Mee-ony

    This article misreads or misinterprets the DRB ruling. The original ruling found the sign to be in violation of code and should be removed. The confusion between the size standard and the political standard is a different issue, and the cluster representative chose to appeal the ruling based in part on that confusion, partially because the DRB referenced the two different standards and added to that confusion, and partially because the cluster person seems to have an ax to grind.

  • ConcernedCitizen

    Clearly Pennington doesn’t speak for the whole cluster. We all have varying opinions on this topic.


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