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Carolina Beach Council To Consider Changes To Flag Regulations

Flags flying at the Red Hotz golf cart rental business on North Lake Park Blvd in Carolina Beach. The Town Council voted at their July 10, meeting to postpone enforcing new sign regulations concerning the display of patriotic flags to further review new restrictions that would have started July 15. The Council will revisit the issue at their August 14, meeting.

Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council will reconsider limitations on the display of patriotic flags  for businesses at their upcoming Tuesday August 14, meeting.
The Council adopted amendments to the Town's sign ordinance earlier this year relaxing the rules for temporary signs while tightening up on regulations for displaying flags.
According to Town Planning Director Ed Parvin, at the Council's July 10, meeting the Council heard from several members of the community regarding the new sign ordinance. He explained, "The only regulation that was brought up as a concern was the reduced number of patriotic flags that a property could have on-site. Based on this concern, Town Council requested we relook at that specific section of the ordinance."
The concern was the sign regulations went from one flag per 25 feet of road frontage to one patriotic or decorative flag or banner per 50 feet of road frontage.
At the July meeting, Randy Wood, owner of Red Hotz Rentals on Lake Park Blvd explained, "I fly ten U.S. Flags. I fly all five branches of the military. I fly one POW/MIA flag. I'm a veteran and I'm a patriot."
He explained he still works with wounded warriors and volunteers to help veterans including collecting items to ship to soldiers at no charge.
He explained, "I feel like my patriotism has come into question on this. That the only reason I did these flags was to draw attention to my lot. I'm a patriot. I fly flags at home. I'm not a patriot just four or five weekends out of the year whenever we fill up the beer cooler and cook some hot dogs on the grill. That's not me. I love this country."
He explained, "I love to have my flags. I just can't imagine how or why this Town would want to strike my colors and that's what you’re doing, you're striking my colors. Please reconsider."
Other citizens spoke in favor of flying patriotic flags.
Parvin said the most typical size for flags are 3'x5' (15 sq. feet) "Which is what you see at Town Hall and Red Hotz". Another standard size is 4'x6' or 24 sq. feet.
Parvin explained to Council earlier this week in a memo that he will present four options for their consideration. The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved Option one at their July 12, meeting which calls for the original recommendation of one patriotic flag per 25' feet.
Parvin explained the Planning Commission's recommendation still exceeds the historical allowances for patriotic flags in Carolina Beach.
Option two gives the property owner the flexibility to determine what size and how many flags they can have, but limits them to a total amount of "flagging."
Parvin explained, "Option two expands the allowances much more than it appears on the surface. A difference worth mentioning between allocating square footage per business or residence vs. per lot... is it could be seen as more equitable to individual homes or businesses that are located in common ownership (several on one lot). However, the flagging allowances increases drastically under Option two. Every home or business can have "x" square feet under Option two. So if you live in a neighborhood that has 50 square feet of frontage but 10 condos then there could be (10 times "x") square feet of patriotic flagging vs. the historical ordinance which only gives you two flags for a total of 30 square feet for the entire neighborhood."
Parvin said most homes and businesses are on a 50' lot. Under the historical ordinance a lot would be allowed two 15 square foot flags, or 30 square feet total. Under Option two at 50 square feet you could have three at 15 sq. ft., or 2 at 24 square feet, or one big one at 50 square feet, etc. He explained, "In other words, even the most restrictive of the three proposed square footage allowances... gives more flagging than has been historically allowed."
For example, 50 square feet would give 20 more square feet than in the past. 100 square feet would allow a home or business to have four 24 square foot flags or six 15 square foot flags. 225 square feet would allow 15 flags for a business such as Red Hotz on Lake Park Blvd.
Option three calls for no limitations in residential areas and limitations similar to those of Options 1 and 2 in commercial districts.
Option four calls for no regulation of patriotic flags anywhere in Town.
In Fayetteville, NC, the allowance is five flags per lot with no size requirement. Jacksonville only limits the size of a flag to 16 square feet. Wrightsville Beach regulates flags by not permitting the total size to exceed 100 square feet cumulatively. New Hanover County has no limit while Brunswick County limits to three poles per lot up to three flags per pole with no size restrictions.
The historical limitations in Carolina Beach on flying flags included prohibiting flags to protrude more than three and one-half feet from the front, side or rear facades of a building; maintain a minimum clearance from adjacent ground and/or sidewalk, level to the lower portion of the displayed flagging or support member of eight feet; limitation on quantity of one flag per every 25' of road frontage or building frontage on the primary frontage street. Also, flags had to stay within the property boundaries.
The Council will consider the issue at their August 14, meeting at Town Hall starting at 6:30PM.