Saturday, December 05, 2009



Must not fly Old Glory??

We read:
"A veteran of three wars who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor is now facing an unlikely enemy — his neighbors. Col. Van T. Barfoot, 90, has raised the Stars and Stripes every day at sunrise and lowered them every day at sunset since he served in the U.S. Army. But on Tuesday he received a letter from the law firm that represents his homeowners' association, ordering him to remove the flagpole from his Richmond, Va. yard by 5 p.m. on Friday or face "legal action."

The homeowners' association at Sussex Square community told Barfoot that the freestanding, 21-foot flagpole that he put up in September violates the neighborhood's aesthetic guidelines. Barfoot had sought permission to install the pole shortly after he moved into the community — a complex of townhouses where the grounds are community property — last June. The board denied his request in July.

But Barfoot and his family say there is no provision in Sussex Square's rules that forbids erecting flagpoles. And for Barfoot, that's a cause worth fighting for. "There's never been a day in my life or a place I've lived in my life that you couldn't fly the American flag," Barfoot said in an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

In a statement released last night, the association sought to defend its position against a growing chorus of outrage. "This is not about the American flag. This is about a flagpole," reads the statement from the association..

Source

12 comments:

Bobby said...

If the flagpole sits on community property the association has a point.

Anonymous said...

Likely, it's on his property, not community property. In any case, the residents are still bound by the association's covenants if they wish to live in the association. It will be up to a court to determine if the wording of the covenants prohibits flagpoles. The question then becomes can he display a flag in ANY way (hung on the front of his house, on a flag pole attached to his house as opposed to a freestanding one, etc.) or will they prohibit that also.

Anonymous said...

He has made the mistake of moving into a community run by tiny tyrants.

The problem many homeowners associations find is that the only people willing to serve on those boards are the people who take delight in being little tyrants and controlling other people and he's obviously moved into a community run by at least a few of them.

Angry American said...

The clause they were using was one on aesthetic guidelines, not flags themselves. Two things: first, its a standard flag and standard pole, not some giant 100ft car dealer megaplex flag pole. Second, it is noted that the association has the authority to make exceptions. When a Medal of Honor, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart awarded bonafide American Hero wants to put up a flag, you make the exception and say "thank you."

Anonymous said...

The question then becomes can he display a flag in ANY way (hung on the front of his house, on a flag pole attached to his house as opposed to a freestanding one, etc.) or will they prohibit that also.

It is a question that has been answered by the people who do hang flags from poles attached to their houses in the community.

The HOA acknowledges that flags flown from poles attached to houses are allowed.

If anything, this case exemplifies Ben Franklin's quote of "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Mr. Barfoot surrendered the right to control his property when he moved to the land governed by a Home Owners Association. He knew the rules going in.

Mr. Barfoot knew that the flagpole would require approval from the HOA because he asked for their approval in July. When the request was denied, he put the pole up anyway.

In short, Mr Barfoot gave his right to build on his own property to a HOA to live in the community. He does not now get to say that he has the liberty to do as he wishes.

It is a sad case because many HOA are overly burdensome and regulatory in nature. But no one forced Mr. Barfoot to live where he lives and to sign the HOA covenant.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"He has made the mistake of moving into a community run by tiny tyrants."

Oh, how very true that is! These associations are usually made up of a group of old people who have nothing better to do than control the lives of everyone around them, and they take great delight in exerting that control. I hope this old combat vet and hero can afford to do what he's always done, fight!

Anonymous said...

That is why I would not refuse to live in a HOA controlled place. Even if the current board is made up of reasonable and caring people there is no reason to think they will stay that way. And once in you have little means to retrieving your rights. Kind of like what has been happening with the creeping encroachment of the federal government.

Anonymous said...

That is why I would not refuse to live in a HOA controlled place.

Double negatives are a bitch.

Bobby said...

Well, I like my HOA because they fired the valet parking people to avoid increasing our HOA rates, they also negotiated for cheaper hurricane insurance and fought with the city of Miami to get us property taxes that reflect the value our condos have lost.

Anonymous said...

The covenamts do not ban flagpoles. He has a right to erect a flagpole and fly the flag. Aesthetics? What can be more aesthetic than flying the American flag?

Anonymous said...

Angry American said, When a Medal of Honor, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart awarded bonafide American Hero wants to put up a flag, you make the exception and say "thank you."

Wise words indeed. Unfortunately, they fall on mostly deaf ears as the majority of the world has forgotten about respecting those who put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms.

Anonymous said...

The covenamts do not ban flagpoles.

The covenants do not allow for a free standing structure to be erected without approval. The flagpole is a free standing structure.

Unfortunately, they fall on mostly deaf ears as the majority of the world has forgotten about respecting those who put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms.

I disagree with the idea that his service precludes him from following the very rules to which he agreed.

I understand the point that you are trying to make, but "service" and "being above the law" are not the same thing.