Summer is the perfect time to honor our nation’s flag. Remember to fly your flags within the confines of national flag etiquette and the rules of your association.
Most homeowners associations have rules and restrictions about the appropriate size, placement and installation of flags and banners of any kind—not just the American flag, but other national flags and those depicting holidays, seasons, universities, sports teams and so on. While the U.S. flag has profound meaning for many Americans, flag display rules are in place to promote aesthetic uniformity and avoid the potential proliferation of all flags, banners, and emblems. On a practical level, homeowners associations rules also protect common elements like exterior siding and assets like warranties, such as those covering roofs.
While they may be appropriate in some neighborhoods, freestanding, permanent flagpoles are not appropriate for all homeowners associations. Individual communities should decide if poles can be erected and establish reasonable height and placement guidelines. A 40-foot pole in front of a two-story townhouse with a small front yard doesn’t make sense, whereas a home with a large lot may offer a suitable location for a flagpole.
Homeowners have a contractual obligation to comply with certain rules and regulations when they move into an association-governed community. These apply not just to flags, but also to outside antennas, satellite dishes, clotheslines, fences and patios, to name only a few. However, rules are not set in concrete. We encourage homeowners associations to review their governing documents periodically to ensure they are reasonable and truly reflect the will of the community. A rule that may have made perfect sense 20 years ago may not be appropriate or desired today. Each community should determine what’s right for that community, and only after an open and constructive dialogue involving the residents of that community.
Special flag holidays:
- June 14th – Flag Day
- July 4th – Independence Day
If your flag is worn or tattered, many Scout troops provide retirement ceremonies. Boy Scout Troop 225 will be holding a flag retirement ceremony at Assateague Island on June 9th.