In this instance, Community Associations Institute (CAI) strongly supports the elimination of community association restrictions that prohibit the display of a reasonably sized flagpole and reasonably sized, removable American flag from a resident’s exclusive use or limited common element areas, so long as the flag is displayed in accordance with the Federal Flag Code, 4 U.S.C Sections 5-10, as amended. CAI further believes that community associations – not a state law – are best suited to determine the appropriate size, placement and installation of a flagpole.
CAI strongly believes that all Americans should have the opportunity to display the U.S. flag to demonstrate their patriotism and support of our country. A community association board of directors should be reasonable and allow the public display of our nation’s most sacred emblem. To that end, CAI has supported numerous bills to overturn anti-flag rules, and, in the fall of 2001, initiated Operation Old Glory! that recommended all associations review their rules on flag display with respect to reasonableness.
While CAI applauds efforts by associations and state legislatures to promote the flying of the American flag, we do not feel it is sensible to eliminate all mechanisms for consideration and approval of the size, placement or installation of a flagpole. Although flagpoles may be appropriate for some associations, they are clearly not appropriate for all community associations. An association, not state law, is the best entity for making a determination on height and placement parameters for a flagpole. Even though the height and placement of a flagpole may seem reasonable to one homeowner, the neighbors may not agree. The biggest issue that many homeowners face is the noise from the halyard hardware blowing against the poles. Accordingly, CAI believes the association’s architectural review process is the best avenue to take when determining if the installation and location of a flagpole may threaten the community’s health or safety. Local governmental ordinances may also refer to flagpole restrictions in residential areas.
A number of states have passed legislation that aligns with CAI policy by acknowledging that all residents must be allowed to fly a flag from their home and by permitting reasonable regulations regarding the installation and placement of a permanent flagpole. These states recognize that flagpoles, like any permanent fixture, should be reviewed by an association’s architectural review committee prior to construction.
CAI supports proposals that strike any restrictive covenant in a deed, homeowner’s association documents, rental agreement, leaser contract that may preclude the display of one portable, removable United States flag on the property. However, the flag must be displayed in a respectful manner, consistent with 4 U.S.C Sections 5-10, as amended. In cases where the flagpole becomes an issue, CAI will support language that 1) requires an association to adopt reasonable rules and regulations regarding the placement and manner of display of the American flag; and 2) prevents an outright prohibition on flagpoles. If legislative action is imminent please contact the CAI Government & Public Affairs Department for model legislation.