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Subject: Flying an American Flag
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Author Messages
JenniferB14
(Colorado)

Posts:58


06/24/2018 10:22 PM  
Our HOA has an ARC guideline (flags and flagpoles are not mentioned in the covenants) that states: "flagpoles must not exceed 35' in height and are limited to the proper display of the American Flag and/or individual U.S. State flags."

Being at significant odds with the HOA, and also being in primary election season, I found an American Flag with a Gadsden (Don't tread on me) insignia on it. I realize the flag does not follow the US Flag Code, however the rule does not address time, place or manner, nor define proper display, nor does it address or specify that the flag must be the current US flag within the US flag code. The rule is not descriptive and does not prohibit an American flag with ie: a political symbol/insignia, or for that manner any historical American flag.

This flag is my way of quiet protest against the HOA, and provides my political expression. Colorado law restricts HOAs from prohibiting political signs and also US flags. The CO law states the HOA may make reasonable rules restricting "placement and manner of display"of the flag, however I do not feel this rule has described any such restrictions. The HOA is telling me that I am not flying an American flag.

At any rate I received a violation for the flag within 2 days of putting it up. Mind you... I have been targeted as I have been a major thorn in the board's side. I can't seem to attach a photo but it is an American Flag with the Don't tread on Me insignia detailed lightly across the center of the flag. You have to get pretty close to even notice the insignia.... all my other neighbors didn't even realize the flag had the insignia.







KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5654


06/24/2018 11:18 PM  
I'd say it is NOT An American flag in the accurate sense of the phrase. I have a feeling you know this very well.
JenniferG11
(Texas)

Posts:436


06/24/2018 11:31 PM  
Posted By JenniferB14 on 06/24/2018 10:22 PM
Our HOA has an ARC guideline (flags and flagpoles are not mentioned in the covenants) that states: "flagpoles must not exceed 35' in height and are limited to the proper display of the American Flag and/or individual U.S. State flags."

Being at significant odds with the HOA, and also being in primary election season, I found an American Flag with a Gadsden (Don't tread on me) insignia on it. I realize the flag does not follow the US Flag Code, however the rule does not address time, place or manner, nor define proper display, nor does it address or specify that the flag must be the current US flag within the US flag code. The rule is not descriptive and does not prohibit an American flag with ie: a political symbol/insignia, or for that manner any historical American flag.

This flag is my way of quiet protest against the HOA, and provides my political expression. Colorado law restricts HOAs from prohibiting political signs and also US flags. The CO law states the HOA may make reasonable rules restricting "placement and manner of display"of the flag, however I do not feel this rule has described any such restrictions. The HOA is telling me that I am not flying an American flag.

At any rate I received a violation for the flag within 2 days of putting it up. Mind you... I have been targeted as I have been a major thorn in the board's side. I can't seem to attach a photo but it is an American Flag with the Don't tread on Me insignia detailed lightly across the center of the flag. You have to get pretty close to even notice the insignia.... all my other neighbors didn't even realize the flag had the insignia.


LOL the rule says 'proper display' and you know what proper display (and the proper flag) is, but want to argue that they don't articulate that well enough?







JenniferB14
(Colorado)

Posts:58


06/24/2018 11:39 PM  
Can you tell me what proper display is? What is inclusive of proper display? Would what you assume proper display be the same as the next person who puts up the historical flag of the original colonies (which was an actual media and legal case here in Colorado where the homeowner won).

Definitions are extremely important when you are restricting owner's property rights, so yes, I am arguing it as the guideline does not prohibit my flag. I am also arguing it because freedom to protest is a right per the Colorado Constitution and the 1st amendment, and the HOA is a quasi governmental body... I am protesting the HOA peacefully without affecting anyone else as this is on my land. Not sure how that measly guideline stacks up against the 1st amendment.
JenniferG11
(Texas)

Posts:436


06/25/2018 12:10 AM  
Do you have a link to that case? Sounds interesting. I found this guy who tried several different flags, but it doesn't state the outcome of his case:


http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/06/15/penalty-for-flying-betsy-ross-flag-sets-off-star-spangled-fight.html
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2251


06/25/2018 8:03 AM  
A flag with the "don't tread on me" symbol IS NOT an American flag, so it would appear the HOA is in its rights to cite you. There is a federal law that prohibits HOAs from banning displays of the American flag outright, but it can establish rules like the flagpole rule you cited. Of course, if you're having a conflict with the association for other stuff, you have to anticipate if you try to pick at them for flying this thype of flag, someone might get really pissed off and wait for you to do something and then pounce. That's how it is with fights - if you poke the bear, you better be ready with a shotgun if it swipes back.

Now, if you want to fly a flag (the real one), check out the American legion website which has all sorts of information on how the flag (the real one) is to be displayed. As for other displays of political expression, you could check your documents to see if there's another way you can express yourself (perhaps by putting a small sign in your window?)

Better yet, if you have beef with your HOA, why not work with it to resolve whatever issues are bugging you?
Or run for a spot on the board and get like minded neighbors to work with you (or at least vote) for you?
It requires more work, but the results may be more effective and last longer than a dust up over a flag.
AugustinD


Posts:1088


06/25/2018 8:42 AM  
You do have a right to protest HOA actions, but you have to do so within the confines of the law, which includes the HOA declaration (where the Declaration does not violate federal and state law). My take: It is reasonable to conclude that your 'don't tread on me' flag is not "the American flag." If historical flags counted as "the American flag," then some would say that the Confederate flag is "the American flag." If I lived in a HOA with a restriction like yours, said Confederate flag would come down so quickly heads would spin. I might throw in a letter to the owners flying such a flag encouraging them to review HUD rules on hostile environment on the basis of race, sex, religion et cetera.

The same goes for the historical Georgia flag which has Confederate flag markings on it, used from 1956-2001 in Georgia.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15954


06/25/2018 8:46 AM  
Jennifer,

Pick your battles.
JenniferB14
(Colorado)

Posts:58


06/25/2018 9:17 AM  
I get it.... what about this flag in the context of it being a political sign? The Gadsden is a political sign.... and we do not have any restrictions on political signs, and the law restricts the HOA from prohibiting political signs (they can restrict to a certain number, size, etc).?? Thoughts? Again this same battle was sidestepped by an HOA in Colorado where the attorney agreed it was a political sign
AugustinD


Posts:1088


06/25/2018 9:29 AM  
Posted By JenniferB14 on 06/25/2018 9:17 AM
I get it.... what about this flag in the context of it being a political sign? The Gadsden is a political sign.... and we do not have any restrictions on political signs, and the law restricts the HOA from prohibiting political signs (they can restrict to a certain number, size, etc).?? Thoughts? Again this same battle was sidestepped by an HOA in Colorado where the attorney agreed it was a political sign


I see you mentioned this possible argument above and I beg your pardon for not addressing it in my first post in this thread. At first blush, this does look like a promising argument. If you quote as much of the law or reporting on HOAs and political signs (or expression?) in Colorado as possible, I would be happy to look at and opine on it.

But down to some brass tacks: How is your HOA board and manager about retaliating? They can get a way with a helluva lot to make an owner's life miserable. Not that you should take it. More that one has to ask whether it is worth fighting.


KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5654


06/25/2018 9:51 AM  
But political signs may not be flown from flag poles, Jen14. Only USA flags, right? Your HOA can have rules about banners & signs: size, perhaps material they're made of, etc. A few years ago, we had a "Don't Tread on Me Banner" in a condo living room window. It didn't exceed our size limit, so it was fine. I personally wouldn't want that much light & view blocked in my condo, but the resident was an avid Tea Party member.

Sounds like yours has no restrictions against flags & banners (except perhaps, commercial ones) so why not put something large in your front window? Or, if your front yard is not your HOA's common area, a sign in your front yard? If passersby can see the bumper of your car, why not put something political on it?

Posters seem to want to know what the problems are between you & your board. I guess I'm curious too. but it might be better in a new post--will attract different readers, I suspect.
SheilaJ1
(South Carolina)

Posts:30


06/25/2018 10:44 AM  
Unless I see more of the CC&R wording, I believe the HOA is within it's contractual right to limit the flag that you have put up. The guidelines does stack up against the 1st amendment due to the contract you signed as a homeowner.

I'm pretty sure the HOA does have restrictions for political signs, they should come under temporary signs and can only be put up during elections, and the HOA can my rules strict enough that limit your 1st amendment and property rights, it's in the contract you signed when you first bought the property. If enough residents don't like it, get 67% vote to change the contract.

That contract aka CC&R's probably does state that you cannot place the flags like the one you have put up. A lazy HOA may attempt to put it under the "catch all" of nuisance activity and send you a violation, however the HOA may have the wording about this somewhere. I would like to see the Colorado law that states that HOA cannot restrict political signs, it may state that political signs can only be put up like say 2 weeks before an election and 5 days after an election.

I agree with Tim (I recall in VA, the Farrans case, where the HOA lost big time), pick you battles on this one. You may have to change the location and size but the wording of guidelines and CC&R's should be reviewed before you turn this into a fight. I'll copy similar responses from similar threads on this forum, "if the wording it not in the guidelines and CC&R's then the HOA does not have a leg to stand on." Look for the wording.
AugustinD


Posts:1088


06/25/2018 12:11 PM  
The Colorado statute appears at https://law.justia.com/codes/colorado/2016/title-38/real-property/article-33.3/part-1/section-38-33.3-106.5 . It looks pretty limiting. Notably:

"An association may prohibit the display of political signs earlier than forty-five days before the day of an election and later than seven days after an election day;"

" 'political sign' means a sign that carries a message intended to influence the outcome of an election, including supporting or opposing the election of a candidate, the recall of a public official, or the passage of a ballot issue."

I think JenniferB14's proposed flag does not comply with the statute.

Shelia cited the Virginia major legal dispute Farrans v. Olde Belhaven yada. It apparently took place from about 2008-2011, with further fallout through about 2013. It seems to be a good study in power run amok at a HOA, and the staggering financial cost to the latter. Introduction: https://www.theblaze.com/news/2013/02/11/battle-over-homeowners-associations-attempt-to-ban-obama-lawn-sign-tears-community-apart-its-like-we-werent-living-in-america

GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:569


06/25/2018 12:15 PM  
Jennifer14 from Colorado said it in the beginning ... "Being at significant odds with the HOA..."

IMO, not worth further discussion. I've run into too many like her.
SheilaJ1
(South Carolina)

Posts:30


06/25/2018 12:43 PM  
I see no issue in the discussion topic, she may be well within her rights as a homeowner to ask for better wording of the rules, especially if the wording is not clear.
SheilaJ1
(South Carolina)

Posts:30


06/25/2018 12:49 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 06/25/2018 12:11 PM
The Colorado statute appears at https://law.justia.com/codes/colorado/2016/title-38/real-property/article-33.3/part-1/section-38-33.3-106.5 . It looks pretty limiting. Notably:

"An association may prohibit the display of political signs earlier than forty-five days before the day of an election and later than seven days after an election day;"

" 'political sign' means a sign that carries a message intended to influence the outcome of an election, including supporting or opposing the election of a candidate, the recall of a public official, or the passage of a ballot issue."

I think JenniferB14's proposed flag does not comply with the statute.

Shelia cited the Virginia major legal dispute Farrans v. Olde Belhaven yada. It apparently took place from about 2008-2011, with further fallout through about 2013. It seems to be a good study in power run amok at a HOA, and the staggering financial cost to the latter. Introduction: https://www.theblaze.com/news/2013/02/11/battle-over-homeowners-associations-attempt-to-ban-obama-lawn-sign-tears-community-apart-its-like-we-werent-living-in-america



Sounds about the same number of days in most states. Unfortunately the only hope for her now is to see if she can display it in the window or reduce the size. One would have to look at the wording of the rules and ARC guidelines for size, placement from ground, type etc.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15954


06/25/2018 1:03 PM  
Posted By JenniferB14 on 06/25/2018 9:17 AM
I get it.... what about this flag in the context of it being a political sign? The Gadsden is a political sign.... and we do not have any restrictions on political signs, and the law restricts the HOA from prohibiting political signs (they can restrict to a certain number, size, etc).?? Thoughts? Again this same battle was sidestepped by an HOA in Colorado where the attorney agreed it was a political sign





Jennifer,

Are you asking for opinions or shopping for answers (looking for someone who agrees with you)?


The fact that the issue went to an attorney in the other Association says a lot in how much the Association was willing to dig in it's feet and fight the battle in the courts.

If you have the time, energy and money for a court battle and this is the battle you want to fight in court, go for it.
If you have the time, energy and money for a court battle but want to choose a different battle to fight, then pick your battles.
If you do not have the time, energy and money for a court battle, pick your battles.
If you simply want to change the makeup of the Association then gather support from the membership and vote the bums out replacing them with yourself and other like minded individuals so things can be ran the way you think they should be.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:569


06/25/2018 1:19 PM  
Wouldn’t it simply be easier and more neIghborly to follow the rules?

Why is it about you, and not the community?
SheilaJ1
(South Carolina)

Posts:30


06/25/2018 3:46 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 06/25/2018 1:19 PM
Wouldn’t it simply be easier and more neIghborly to follow the rules?

Why is it about you, and not the community?


We don't know all the details, perhaps it is the board that is not following the rules. And its her way to protest with how she interpreted the rules.

Another option everyone may want to consider leaving the flag where it is, let the board cry all they want, let them threaten you with fines as well, they will make a mistake during this process or in other issues you have, just like the Farran's in VA, the HOA was okay on the sign but the fine's is where the HOA lost out.

Also, the meeting minutes will have a note on why she was fined. It could be the beginning of change, you never know.

MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:7611


06/25/2018 4:04 PM  
https://www.usa.gov/features/usagovs-guide-to-displaying-the-american-flag is the link to use. I would download the pdf that is suggested for the Federal Code. It is the one I believe we used.

The "Don't Tread on me" flag should not be flown higher than the American flag. My personal opinion it shouldn't be on the same pole. For me it should be American flag, State, and if there is a flag of the HOA.

I just think your trying to "poke the bear" with the HOA. Too bad your going to find out the bear is you and your neighbors...

Former HOA President
JenniferB14
(Colorado)

Posts:58


06/25/2018 4:06 PM  
Well, the media just left my house so we will see how it goes after the story is aired tonight. Funny enough as they rolled in to our neighborhood they said we noticed a blue lives matter sign.....hmmmmm
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:7611


06/25/2018 4:10 PM  
Great you just helped make sure no one wants to buy in your HOA! So proud you can bring such great and positive attention to you and your neighbor's homes! Gee can I get a copy of the listing in your area so I can move closer???

Dumbest thing people can do is go to the media to complain about their HOA... Sorry can't put it any other way... Now how much is your home values effected now that you say living here SUCKS? Look it sucks living here and it can suck for you too if you move here! Woo-Hoo! I am on that list for buying a house in that area now! (NOT).

Former HOA President
JenniferB14
(Colorado)

Posts:58


06/25/2018 4:14 PM  
Also in response to some of you:

I live on 5 acres. The flag insignia is barely visible until you are at the top of the driveway and only one other neighbor could possibly see the insignia from his home.... but he would have to walk down his property to do so. It most certainly does not affect the Association’s significant interest. Also perhaps I am poking the bear and that’s ok. Another neighbor however flew the Gadsden flag under his US flag for years under the same guidelines and never heard a peep. Latches? Selective enforcement?

Also, state law allows HOAs to make rules restricting political signs within the confines of the law. Our HOA has made no such rules of any kind addressing political signs. So as a political sign there is no violation since there are no rules. Additionally we are in primary elections and there are political signs all over right now. The law does not mandate that they come down after the election, though the HOA could make a rule on this.

Additionally I have as of today put in an ARC request to fly either the Gadsden or the Navy Jack. I asked for a waiver if the ARC disallows it. The president of our association and builder in the neighborhood received a waiver for building a customers home smaller than the minimum required square footage. Now that affects property values and is a significant interest in the association!!!
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:7611


06/25/2018 4:25 PM  
So your asking the HOA if you can proudly wave the middle finger to everyone? Basically that is what your requesting. You want to show off your rebellion against "whatever". No one cares. They just see that flag and think "Think we aren't in Kansas anymore" and leave... I live in Alabama... You can't fly certain flags here... Otherwise you really make yourself look like a douche.

Former HOA President
AugustinD


Posts:1088


06/25/2018 4:33 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 06/25/2018 4:10 PM
Great you just helped make sure no one wants to buy in your HOA! So proud you can bring such great and positive attention to you and your neighbor's homes! Gee can I get a copy of the listing in your area so I can move closer???

Dumbest thing people can do is go to the media to complain about their HOA... .


If people did not go to the media and complain about housing restrictions based on race, this country would be nowhere. I am with Shelia in observing that some HOA boards operate unlawfully and in egregious ways. Sometimes it takes going to the media and hiring an attorney. The tree roots on the common area where I am were backing up several homes' sewer lines, and the HOA board, out of spite for certain owners, refused to take action. If this did not get fixed through publicizing the problem to all, and getting a new board and new attorney, I would have gone to the media. Letting raw sewage back up into people's homes borders on criminal.

It all depends on how much of one's life one wants to give to such causes.

I do not have all the facts here. I do not want to do more than try to answer her questions and not invent ones she did not ask.
JenniferB14
(Colorado)

Posts:58


06/25/2018 4:48 PM  
Lol... I think you would all do the same thing trust me. This is an HOA that wanted our covenants to be a certain way, the vote to change That covenant failed by a fairly large margin, so the board decided to go ahead and register an addendum with the county stating that the proposed change in the covenant was successful. That covenant failed buy a fairly large margin, so the board decided to go ahead and register an addendum with the county stating that the proposed change in the covenant was successful. They then created a welcome letter that they distributed to every title company addressing the covenant they had illegally changed and bringing it to each new owners attention. This Gave them the false authority to govern in a certain manner until 10 years later when the gave them the false authority to govern in a certain manner until 10 years later when it was properly uncovered and three attorneys deemed the covenant was that never legally changed and therefore was not valid. Our community is called “Mean ranch” from outsiders instead of xxxxx Ranch. The nastiness between neighbors Is beyond what you could possibly imagine, as the community is divided into HOA haters and HOA supporters. Many, including very close friends of ours have moved away due to the nasty Nas of our community which has been due to the power abused by each board year after year. You simply would not understand unless you lived it.
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:2993


06/25/2018 5:00 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 06/25/2018 4:25 PM
So your asking the HOA if you can proudly wave the middle finger to everyone? Basically that is what your requesting. You want to show off your rebellion against "whatever". No one cares. They just see that flag and think "Think we aren't in Kansas anymore" and leave... I live in Alabama... You can't fly certain flags here... Otherwise you really make yourself look like a douche.



The First Amendment allows me to PROUDLY wave my middle finger to anyone I want.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5654


06/25/2018 5:03 PM  
Look, the ARC Guidelines in Jen14's HOA are: " "flagpoles must not exceed 35' in height and are limited to the proper display of the American Flag and/or individual U.S. State flags."

It's NOT about signs, which do not fly from flagpoles; it only permits the US flag with a state flag under it. But a US flag has no backgrounds whatsoever however benign. With a background of a cattle herd, oil wells, clouds, peace signs, daises, etc., it is NOT a US flag.

Since Jen14 says there are no rules against signs of any kind and the Gadsen symbol is not a campaign sign with a time limit, she could put a billboard-size one in her yard if she wants, right, Jen?

I'm a little confused by her saying she's thumbing her nose at her HOA board with her flag, yet no one can see it.

I don't think a waiver needs to be given...think I've read a few places that just because one oenr isn't disciplined for, say a flag violation, the rue can never be enforced.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:569


06/25/2018 5:04 PM  
OK - I’m thinking you are angry. I am not swing sufficient facts in your posts to lead me to believe you are trying to work with the intent of the HOA.

I’m thinking you need to share a LOT more specifics with us. Quotes from CCRs, Bylaws, specificity on statements, etc.

In other words - you sound angry.
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:531


06/25/2018 5:36 PM  
I would ask them, simply, which part of the covenants is violated? If it's not in the covenants, it's not a violation. Guidelines may be used to clarify the covenants or give guidance as to how the HOA will handle areas where they have discretion, but the HOA cannot create rules for private property by writing them into the guidelines.



BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:531


06/25/2018 5:47 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 06/25/2018 4:10 PM
Great you just helped make sure no one wants to buy in your HOA! So proud you can bring such great and positive attention to you and your neighbor's homes! Gee can I get a copy of the listing in your area so I can move closer???

Dumbest thing people can do is go to the media to complain about their HOA... Sorry can't put it any other way... Now how much is your home values effected now that you say living here SUCKS? Look it sucks living here and it can suck for you too if you move here! Woo-Hoo! I am on that list for buying a house in that area now! (NOT).



Inventing rules that are not in the CC&Rs does not help property values, it just puts the whole association at risk for paying for an expensive law suit in the future. I think most HOA boards do a decent job but if they are overreaching their authority they need to be called out on it. That benefits all of the owners in the long run.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15954


06/25/2018 6:19 PM  
Posted By JenniferB14 on 06/25/2018 4:06 PM
Well, the media just left my house so we will see how it goes after the story is aired tonight. Funny enough as they rolled in to our neighborhood they said we noticed a blue lives matter sign.....hmmmmm




Jennifer,

I understand fighting for principal.
I understand the pressure a media story can bring (since I work in the media).
There are always consequences for any decision.
Some consequences are known.
Some consequences are unknown.

I hope the unknown consequences are not more then you and your Association can handle.

I wish you luck.

Tim
JenniferG11
(Texas)

Posts:436


06/25/2018 6:32 PM  
Jennifer, can you link me to the case in Colorado where someone won a similar fight? As I said I found a case, but not the outcome. The guy in the case I found first put up a Gadsen flag, and then another, and it was on the Betsy Ross flag that he decided to stick to his guns.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5654


06/25/2018 7:52 PM  
I usually agree with you, Ben. But I think a lot of HOAs have CC&Rs which give the HOA quite a lot of latitude in adding "Rules' or "architectural guidelines." I know ours do.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:569


06/25/2018 8:43 PM  
Sheesh ...this is all so silly.
JenniferB14
(Colorado)

Posts:58


06/25/2018 8:52 PM  
Eric Smith of Thornton, Colo., said he and his neighbor were sent a letter by their homeowners' association that said "Tea Party flags are not permitted. Please Remove." They were threatened with a $100-a-month fine for flying the Gadsden flag.

Colorado has a statute similar to Arizona's that specifies which flags are allowed to be flown. The homeowners' association eventually reversed its demand, saying his flag fell into the category of "political signs" instead of flags and was thus allowed.



https://www.yahoo.com/news/blogs/upshot/don-t-tread-flag-starts.html

The story is embedded and I can not find the story alone on its own. At any rate, to reiterate, NONE of our governing documents address political signs. Now... the ultimate solution is to fly my Gadsden flag on my home or off my deck etc... it's even more of a symbol now! Our guidelines do not address any flags other than on the flagpole. And by the way, there is a Blue lives matter flag flying on someones mailbox in the community
JenniferB14
(Colorado)

Posts:58


06/25/2018 8:52 PM  
Eric Smith of Thornton, Colo., said he and his neighbor were sent a letter by their homeowners' association that said "Tea Party flags are not permitted. Please Remove." They were threatened with a $100-a-month fine for flying the Gadsden flag.

Colorado has a statute similar to Arizona's that specifies which flags are allowed to be flown. The homeowners' association eventually reversed its demand, saying his flag fell into the category of "political signs" instead of flags and was thus allowed.



https://www.yahoo.com/news/blogs/upshot/don-t-tread-flag-starts.html

The story is embedded and I can not find the story alone on its own. At any rate, to reiterate, NONE of our governing documents address political signs. Now... the ultimate solution is to fly my Gadsden flag on my home or off my deck etc... it's even more of a symbol now! Our guidelines do not address any flags other than on the flagpole. And by the way, there is a Blue lives matter flag flying on someones mailbox in the community
JenniferG11
(Texas)

Posts:436


06/25/2018 8:57 PM  
Posted By JenniferB14 on 06/25/2018 8:52 PM
Eric Smith of Thornton, Colo., said he and his neighbor were sent a letter by their homeowners' association that said "Tea Party flags are not permitted. Please Remove." They were threatened with a $100-a-month fine for flying the Gadsden flag.

Colorado has a statute similar to Arizona's that specifies which flags are allowed to be flown. The homeowners' association eventually reversed its demand, saying his flag fell into the category of "political signs" instead of flags and was thus allowed.



https://www.yahoo.com/news/blogs/upshot/don-t-tread-flag-starts.html

The story is embedded and I can not find the story alone on its own. At any rate, to reiterate, NONE of our governing documents address political signs. Now... the ultimate solution is to fly my Gadsden flag on my home or off my deck etc... it's even more of a symbol now! Our guidelines do not address any flags other than on the flagpole. And by the way, there is a Blue lives matter flag flying on someones mailbox in the community




OK, so he 'won' with his HOA, not in a court of law. There is no case law for you to point to, that is the information I was after, thank you.
SheilaJ1
(South Carolina)

Posts:30


06/25/2018 9:18 PM  
It’s concerning that they targeted you and not the others especially if it’s at the end of a long driveway. May be best to send a letter requesting all rules that have been in place since the association began. This usually turns into a lawsuit.

I saw your old topic on how they passed a rule on horses or something, without 100% vote, did that get resolved or is this flag issue stemming from that dispute?

Either way, sounds like a runaway board and you may not have enough support to vote them out. All you can do is quietly protest. The other issues horses seemed solid enough but it does go back to Tim’s post, pick the battle, if you win, then all types of flags are going to show up. Melissa’s advice is to change leadership, sounds easy but it’s not easy to get enough for removal. Media has been suggested. Moving out is probably not on the table either for you or the leadership.

These types of dead issues really makes one think about the concept of associations, a better concept or model may come about one day.
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:2993


06/25/2018 9:24 PM  
I am afraid the political climate in Washington DC is making a mockery of values we once held. I wake up some days and am ashamed in the country people call America.
JenniferB14
(Colorado)

Posts:58


06/25/2018 10:43 PM  
https://kdvr.com/2018/06/25/hoa-orders-family-to-take-down-unapproved-american-flag/

Thought some of you may be interested. Mind you the cut and paste from the Flag code is just that.... those specifications are NOT in our guidelines.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:7611


06/26/2018 5:07 AM  
So may I ask how many here would like to have a neighbor flying this flag? Your supporting it here. So would you in real life if the same argument was presented to your HOA? Like to know. If a member in your HOA presents their "Constitutional right" and has gone to the media to announce your HOA (who has NOT made a decision yet) is NOT allowing them to fly this flag? (Which is a flag not a political sign).

Would your response be go on and fly it? Are you comfortable with it? Are you okay if you hear from Realtors stating that some people don't want to buy into your neighborhood because they saw a story on TV and don't want to live in a HOA with such discord? Which in reality is what is going to happen.

So what sounds good on post and theory, is the reality the same? Would you allow this in your HOA?

Former HOA President
JenniferG11
(Texas)

Posts:436


06/26/2018 5:12 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 06/26/2018 5:07 AM
So may I ask how many here would like to have a neighbor flying this flag? Your supporting it here. So would you in real life if the same argument was presented to your HOA? Like to know. If a member in your HOA presents their "Constitutional right" and has gone to the media to announce your HOA (who has NOT made a decision yet) is NOT allowing them to fly this flag? (Which is a flag not a political sign).

Would your response be go on and fly it? Are you comfortable with it? Are you okay if you hear from Realtors stating that some people don't want to buy into your neighborhood because they saw a story on TV and don't want to live in a HOA with such discord? Which in reality is what is going to happen.

So what sounds good on post and theory, is the reality the same? Would you allow this in your HOA?




What do you mean would we allow it? Allow the flag, or going to the media?
JenniferB14
(Colorado)

Posts:58


06/26/2018 5:35 AM  
For clarity the media came to me I’m sure no one wants the media. See, I requested a hearing, guaranteed by law to be given by an impartial decision maker. They levied a fine before my hearing, which the HOA has still not responded to. Additionally I applied to the ARC with a request to fly the Gadsdenunddr the US flag... and asked for a waiver if it wasn’t approved. See, the HOA president and builder on the neighborhood received a waiver to build a home for a client smaller than the required minimum square footage in the covenants. He also is building a second driveway for a neighbor which has been against the ARC for 20 years. If the president can get waivers on huge items I’m thinking a dinky flag is no big deal. We will see how they respond, but they have already informed me previously they wouldn’t allow the Gadsden.
TimM11


Posts:193


06/26/2018 6:16 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 06/26/2018 5:07 AM
So may I ask how many here would like to have a neighbor flying this flag? Your supporting it here. So would you in real life if the same argument was presented to your HOA? Like to know. If a member in your HOA presents their "Constitutional right" and has gone to the media to announce your HOA (who has NOT made a decision yet) is NOT allowing them to fly this flag? (Which is a flag not a political sign).

Would your response be go on and fly it? Are you comfortable with it? Are you okay if you hear from Realtors stating that some people don't want to buy into your neighborhood because they saw a story on TV and don't want to live in a HOA with such discord? Which in reality is what is going to happen.

So what sounds good on post and theory, is the reality the same? Would you allow this in your HOA?




My HOA already allows people to fly flags other than the U.S. flag, and has holders attached to the buildings. Most of the time, people use it to fly the U.S. flag, but not exclusively. So for us, this isn't even a hypothetical.

I suppose if someone flew something others considered offensive, we might have to look at the rule, but it has yet to become an issue as long as I've lived here. We do prohibit signs, though, and state law lets us do that.
SheilaJ1
(South Carolina)

Posts:30


06/26/2018 8:52 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 06/26/2018 5:07 AM
So may I ask how many here would like to have a neighbor flying this flag? Your supporting it here. So would you in real life if the same argument was presented to your HOA? Like to know. If a member in your HOA presents their "Constitutional right" and has gone to the media to announce your HOA (who has NOT made a decision yet) is NOT allowing them to fly this flag? (Which is a flag not a political sign).

Would your response be go on and fly it? Are you comfortable with it? Are you okay if you hear from Realtors stating that some people don't want to buy into your neighborhood because they saw a story on TV and don't want to live in a HOA with such discord? Which in reality is what is going to happen.

So what sounds good on post and theory, is the reality the same? Would you allow this in your HOA?


It's not about liking or not liking, if she can't find clear wording then it doesn't matter if anyone is against it, most probably would be against it, the ARC guidelines might not say anything but some HOA's have a separate flag resolution or document or something like "flag display" rules. And your board seems messed up that they might start to draft a new rule. So watch out for that.

I think its fair to say that this situation is because of the boards actions or lack of action of enforcing or not making the wording clear. I'm sure people would not want to move into a neighborhood in discord but it wouldn't take long for a buyer to figure out that the board has lost control.
SheilaJ1
(South Carolina)

Posts:30


06/26/2018 8:56 AM  
Posted By JenniferB14 on 06/26/2018 5:35 AM
For clarity the media came to me I’m sure no one wants the media. See, I requested a hearing, guaranteed by law to be given by an impartial decision maker. They levied a fine before my hearing, which the HOA has still not responded to. Additionally I applied to the ARC with a request to fly the Gadsdenunddr the US flag... and asked for a waiver if it wasn’t approved. See, the HOA president and builder on the neighborhood received a waiver to build a home for a client smaller than the required minimum square footage in the covenants. He also is building a second driveway for a neighbor which has been against the ARC for 20 years. If the president can get waivers on huge items I’m thinking a dinky flag is no big deal. We will see how they respond, but they have already informed me previously they wouldn’t allow the Gadsden.


They can inform you all they want unless they have the rule written somewhere, then they have nothing to stand on. If they fined you without a hearing, this doesn't look very good for them.
JenniferB14
(Colorado)

Posts:58


06/26/2018 9:14 AM  
After I fought back via email they put out a notice to all homeowners (very condescending) and they called it a clarification of the policy for flags. Interesting title, and this was done outside of a meeting... like so many things. That’s where I hang my hat... the ambiguity of it all in the guideline. I truly thought about it before buying that flag and told myself “perfect... they can’t touch me because it IS an American Flag!” Now back to the debate whether or not it really is. Point being unless clearly defined it leads to ambiguity. Had the rule stated “Current American Flag which follows the US Flag code guidelines” then I wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.
SheilaJ1
(South Carolina)

Posts:30


06/26/2018 9:33 AM  
Posted By JenniferB14 on 06/26/2018 9:14 AM
After I fought back via email they put out a notice to all homeowners (very condescending) and they called it a clarification of the policy for flags. Interesting title, and this was done outside of a meeting... like so many things. That’s where I hang my hat... the ambiguity of it all in the guideline. I truly thought about it before buying that flag and told myself “perfect... they can’t touch me because it IS an American Flag!” Now back to the debate whether or not it really is. Point being unless clearly defined it leads to ambiguity. Had the rule stated “Current American Flag which follows the US Flag code guidelines” then I wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.


Even if they think its not an American Flag it doesn't matter because the rule was not clear and since they sent out a letter for clarification after your flag showed up, only makes it worse for them. They shouldn't be able to enforce it retroactively but it goes back to Tim's posts, what is the goal here? It appears your goal is to get the board to act properly, which you've kind of done already with the clarification letter.
JenniferB14
(Colorado)

Posts:58


06/26/2018 10:44 AM  
Yes, they just need to act properly in a bigger scale! Thanks guys!
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:569


06/26/2018 5:14 PM  
This is just "spit in people's faces" stuff.

Increasingly childish.
SheilaJ1
(South Carolina)

Posts:30


06/26/2018 6:46 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 06/26/2018 5:14 PM
This is just "spit in people's faces" stuff.

Increasingly childish.


In this case it may be the board acting childish especially if they are starting to target and shun neighbors that don’t side with them. I will echo melissa’s words in which some boards bring this on themselves and should be voted out.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:569


06/26/2018 7:07 PM  
You are describing politics.

I am describing someone who just can’t get past something, and behaves childishly.
JenniferB14
(Colorado)

Posts:58


06/26/2018 8:05 PM  
Childish or strong? I stand up for what I believe in. What our HOA is doing is so wrong
AugustinD


Posts:1088


06/26/2018 8:14 PM  
Posted By JenniferB14 on 06/24/2018 11:39 PM
freedom to protest is a right per the Colorado Constitution and the 1st amendment, and the HOA is a quasi governmental body...


I agree. I read some of your other threads where your HOA's board seems to be throwing major covenants out the window, costing many of you in time and emotion. As far as I am concerned, you should protest any way you can that the law allows. Congratulations on winning the flag dispute.
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:4151


06/29/2018 1:02 AM  
The Colorado State Statutes notes:

38-33.3-106.5. Prohibitions contrary to public policy - patriotic and political expression - emergency vehicles - fire prevention - renewable energy generation devices - affordable housing - drought prevention measures - definitions

(1) Notwithstanding any provision in the declaration, bylaws, or rules and regulations of the association to the contrary, an association shall not prohibit any of the following:
(a) The display of the American flag on a unit owner's property, in a window of the unit, or on a balcony adjoining the unit if the American flag is displayed in a manner consistent with the federal flag code, Pub.L. 94-344; 90 stat. 810; 4 U.S.C. secs. 4 to 10. The association may adopt reasonable rules regarding the placement and manner of display of the American flag. The association rules may regulate the location and size of flags and flagpoles, but shall not prohibit the installation of a flag or flagpole.
(b) The display of a service flag bearing a star denoting the service of the owner or occupant of the unit, or of a member of the owner's or occupant's immediate family, in the active or reserve military service of the United States during a time of war or armed conflict, on the inside of a window or door of the unit. The association may adopt reasonable rules regarding the size and manner of display of service flags; except that the maximum dimensions allowed shall be not less than nine inches by sixteen inches.


You can display an American Flag OR Service Flag meeting these guidelines ... period end.
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:4151


06/29/2018 1:07 AM  
If you want to get technical here is the LEGAL definition of an American Flag:

https://definitions.uslegal.com/f/flags/
JenniferB14
(Colorado)

Posts:58


06/29/2018 1:23 AM  
Janet...the statute provides the authority for the HOA to prohibit for manner and place. How Weber it turns out our Declaration does not give the ARC authority to restrict private property, only real property termed “ improvements.” Rule making authority is also limited as it pertains to the common elements. Therefore restrictions on my personal property and use restrictions not mentioned in the Declaration are not within their authority. Additionally per the authority, the only violation and fines that can be levied, per the declaration are for violations to the declaration, bylaws or Rules (we have no rules created by the HOA at this time). Violations of ARC guidelines may only result in a violation of the covenants for a failure to receive ARC approval... which goes back to the point that ARC approval may only concern matters of real property/improvements defined as things which disturb the surface of the land. So.... my HOA has certainly gone beyond reach again in their authority and assumed rule making power. Additionally their fine policy violates state law... and has since 2008 come to find out.
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:4151


06/30/2018 12:19 AM  
Posted By JenniferB14 on 06/29/2018 1:23 AM
Janet...the statute provides the authority for the HOA to prohibit for manner and place. How Weber it turns out our Declaration does not give the ARC authority to restrict private property, only real property termed “ improvements.” Rule making authority is also limited as it pertains to the common elements. Therefore restrictions on my personal property and use restrictions not mentioned in the Declaration are not within their authority. Additionally per the authority, the only violation and fines that can be levied, per the declaration are for violations to the declaration, bylaws or Rules (we have no rules created by the HOA at this time). Violations of ARC guidelines may only result in a violation of the covenants for a failure to receive ARC approval... which goes back to the point that ARC approval may only concern matters of real property/improvements defined as things which disturb the surface of the land. So.... my HOA has certainly gone beyond reach again in their authority and assumed rule making power. Additionally their fine policy violates state law... and has since 2008 come to find out.


1. Yes the State provides the authority. Which means that CCR’s which limit are Null and Void on that point and issue.

2. When you purchased your property YOU agreed to abide by the CCR’s in place at that time and moment. YOU signed and YOU agreed to those CCR’s in place at the time of your purchase.

What you do not realize is I have SUED in the past two Developoers in my last HOA. When I was looking for an attorney most thought I was NUTS for taking on one of the Developers because they were essentially a “Federal Grantee”. The attorneys stated that those entities with Federal backing can have deep pockets. I learned CCIOA and I can pretty much quote many sections by heart. After our lawsuit which was settled and the Federal Grantee Developer would try to pull any BS ... I would tell them why they could not with specifics from the State Statutes and our governing documents. After going back and forth with their attorney a couple of times ... I would simply state, “Well I guess we can let the Court decide who is right or wrong” ... and they would back off.

The point I am making here is if I was on your BOD I would take your situation on in a heartbeat and estimate a very high probability of WINNING. And in Colorado you need to estimate that high probability of winning because in a lawsuit if you loose ... you can potentially be liable for ALL of the Legal Costs. While I can understand your anger with your HOA ... potentially you need to choose your battles more wisely.
JenniferB14
(Colorado)

Posts:58


06/30/2018 2:34 AM  
I still don’t think that you understand. The guideline is not in our CC&Rs... it is a guideline in the ARC and the CC&Rs do not provide the authority for the ARC to create rules on personal property. Thus the guideline contradicts the Declaration... and in fact the Bylaws as well. And most of CCIOA states Notwithstanding to the contrary in the Declaration. Our attorney has already reviewed this... and he has had a similar case on a personal property governance issue. Mind you also, the guideline is nonspecific.... if you have sued then you know that if something in a covenant is ambiguous CO rules for free use of property. I’ve already taken the association to small claims over them trying to prevent me from having a chicken coop when the covenants said I could have chickens! The covenants were silent on any other structures but they felt they had the authority to deny me. Summary to that... they let me build a bigger structure for my chickens. Property restrictions must be clear
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