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Back You are here: Home Opinion Opinion Section Editorials Editorial: Flag Regulation Issue Needs A Relaxed Resolution

Editorial: Flag Regulation Issue Needs A Relaxed Resolution

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

Currently the Town of Carolina Beach isn't enforcing a recently adopt regulation that dictates only permitting flags of a certain size within 50 linear feet of each other on the road front of a business. The former ordinance said 25 feet.
People express their patriotism to varying degrees. One business owner, the owner of Red Hotz Golf cart rentals on North Lake Park Blvd, currently fly’s a number of flags including the American, POW and flags for all branches of the U.S. Military.
Granted, that's a lot of flags flying over a local business, but Randy's passion for his country is something we all should learn from.
He's a veteran, works extremely hard for a living operating several businesses and volunteers his time and money on a regular basis to mail care packages to soldiers fighting in Afghanistan.
Keep in mind that a sign ordinance serves a purpose; to regulate the appearance of Town and level the playing field for businesses vying to gain that upper hand for visibility to potential customers passing by in vehicles.
Yet not every business will follow in the steps of Randy and will certainly not fly as many flags. At least that's a common sense observation.
So why not let Randy fly his flags in all of their glory and if it becomes a Town wide issue at a later date, then address that issue in time if the public decides it needs addressing.
Most businesses will fly the traditional single American flag. Some will fly Old Glory along with the State flag and a POW MIA flag.
For the July 4th holiday, some businesses - including the Town of Carolina Beach - will place American flags in abundance along the roadside on those little wooden poles.
Should those be banned by a sign ordinance?
No.
Many businesses throughout Town have their own corporate protocols for the number of flags they display. For example, McDonald's will have one or two poles. Businesses in the Boardwalk area or downtown along Lake Park Blvd don't have the option to put up flagpoles since most are built to the property line. Shopping centers have their own rules which tenants and even owners have to adhere to.
Point is, there's no risk of a sudden over abundance of patriotic flags dotting the skyline. As if that would be a problem to begin with. Now, to ensure flags don't block the visibility of other adjacent buildings, the Town should set a minimum height limit. That way one business can't fly as many flags at a height that would block the view of passing motorists viewing neighboring businesses in the same manner.
For example, up to a certain height, flags should be above the roofline of the adjacent business or the commercial sign; or some other variation to ensure visibility.
Call it the "Fly em high and proud" regulation. Remember, some commercial signs can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
And Randy's flags are flying higher than the adjacent businesses. You can freely see everyone's building in the area. 
Other than that type of requirement, a more relaxed regulation on flags per linear feet on the road frontage will not harm our commercial business district based on the existing makeup of road frontage for most businesses. There should be a requirement for business owners to only fly flags that are in perfect condition without tearing or fraying. Damaged flags should be repaired or retired per proper flag etiquette.
As for the requirements of individual landlords and shopping centers, that's something tenants will have to take up with those entities.
For example, franchise restaurants and gas stations have their own sign requirements that focus attention on, for instance, the sign displaying gas prices and deals on soft drinks. While they may fly a flag or two, their focus is on being patriotic while making a profit. The same applies to McDonald's or other fast food restaurants.
The overall purpose of the sign ordinance is to govern commercial signs. Patriotism through displaying flags is best left to the individual's judgment.