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Multiple Banners Do Not Satisfy ‘Flag’ Ordinance

The multiple banners flying from nine poles on defendant’s property may bear 13 alternating red and white stripes and 50 stars, but they do not constitute a United States “flag” as defined in federal Executive Order 10834, and a Hanover County Circuit Court says the banners do not satisfy the county’s zoning ordinance on signage.

The attachment to EO 10834 includes a pictorial representation of the flag with a table setting forth the proportion of the hoist (width) and fly (length) of the flag and the hoist and fly of the field of the union.

According to the table attached to EO 10834, the standard hoist-to-fly ration of the U.S. flag is one to one and nine-tenths. Defendant admitted on cross-examination that the hoist-to-fly proportion for the banners displayed on his property is approximately five to two. Also, the attachment shows that on the flag of the U.S., the union does not extend the full width of the flag and the bottom six stripes do not extend from the union. Photographs of the banners displayed on defendant’s property show that the “union” extends the full width of the flag with all 13 stripes extending therefrom. Clearly, the banners displayed on defendant’s property do not comport with standard proportions of the flag of the U.S.

The mere fact that the banners located on defendant’s property have 13 horizontal stripes alternating red and white with 50 white stars on a field of blue does not make them flags of the U.S. The court agrees with the county that defendant’s banners are representations of the flag. The court finds that defendant is in violation of the zoning ordinance.

County of Hanover v. Dunn (Harris) No. CR 100001004-00, Feb. 10, 2011; Hanover County Cir.Ct.; Seward M. McGhee; Sterling E. Rives, County Atty. VLW 011-8-040, 3 pp.

VLW 011-8-040

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