Raleigh Rule Restricts Number of Flags Allowed for Display to Three

An ordinance restricting the number of flags allowed up for display has some North Carolina business owners seeing a lot of red, and not as much white and blue.

The city of Raleigh has limited the number of American flags — and any other banners or signs — to three per property.

But that policy doesn't fly with Kevin Powell, co-owner of a used auto dealership called Martin Auto Haus that has 12 Old Glories waving in the wind, or with Chuck Bright, who owns a gas station called Fiddle Stix that is festooned with seven of Betsy Ross' creations.

Both men say they have no intention of taking all but three of their flags down by Sunday, the city-imposed deadline to remove the extras before a fine of $500 per day will be charged to anyone in violation of the policy.

"I think it's a disgrace," said Bright of the rule. "We're at a time when we certainly need to be patriotic. If I want to express my patriotism at my place of business, I should not be restricted."

A city official paid visits to violators of the new rule earlier in the week, saying Raleigh was trying to "clean up" the busy highway known as Capital Boulevard, where Powell's and Bright's businesses are located.

"It came out of the blue, out of nowhere," said Powell of the flag crackdown. "Capital is beautiful. The landscaping is awesome. I don't know what else we can clean up."

Powell said he has a dozen American flags fluttering outside his dealership to show support for soldiers at war.

"We've got troops overseas dying every day," he said. "If anything, we should be putting more [flags] up. That's why I have them — it's a tribute."

Bright said he was originally going to take the offending flags down, but then he reconsidered.

"The more I thought about it, it's just ridiculous and we shouldn't have to," he said. "We're not going to remove them, so we're prepared to pay the fines. We're extremely patriotic people."

Calls to the city of Raleigh seeking comment were not returned.