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Thread: Flag regulations

  1. #1

    Flag regulations

    Looking for information/regulations on commercial design standards.

    Looking for general information/regs on non-governmental flags. Is there a limitation?
    Governmental flags - is there a maximum footage allowed?
    Are flags treated as portable signs?

    Any info greatly appreciated.

    B. Carroll
    Kent County Dept of Planning & Zoning

  2. #2

    flag regulations & commercial design standards

    Flags are often included within the definition of sign in sign regulations. When I see an auto dealer with a dozen US flags, I suspect that I have arrived at a community with an effective sign control ordinance and that this is an effort to attract attention in spite of the ordinance. I did hear of one case, sevedral years ago, where an Oakland County, MI trial court enjoined a merchant from displaying more than 1 US flag, saying that one is enough to show his patriotism. However, the case is not reported.

    It would seem to me that an ordinance placing reasonable limits on the mumber and size of flags, even US flags, would probably be held valid.- CC

  3. #3

    flag regulations & commercial design standards

    Sign Regulation for Small and Midsize Communities (American Planning Association Planning Advisory Service Report #419)by Eric Damian Kelly and Gary J. Raso is a good resource if you want to write a clean and simple sign ordinance.
    The book addresses flags, banners, and pennants.

    Phillip Claxton

  4. #4
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
    Blog entries

    flag regulations & commercial design standards

    Non-governmental flags are usually classified along with banners in most sign ordinances. When I had the job of sign code administration in a past life, I used to consider a flag or banner on a light standard as a freestanding sign, and thus a sign ordinance violation, for exceeding the maximum number of freestanding signs allowed on a property. I considered flags and banners without text the same as those with text.

    Auto dealers seem to be the most likely to display lots of banners and flags, followed by McDonalds. I think it's ironic when you see massive US flags flying at "Joe Smith's Toyota-Nissan-Honda-Kia-Hyundai-Subaru-VW-Audi-Volvo." In Canada, obviously American chains like Wal-Mart and Home Depot go out of their way to fly lots of Canadian flags, seemingly in an attempt to appease the natives. US-based retail chains seem to fly more Canadaian flags than Canadian -based businesses do. (Canadian sign ordinances resemble US regulations, but they typically prohibit high-rise signs, and billboard regulations are usually stricter, but they're more lenient with temporary signs, portable signs and animation. I've seen _way_ more banners and portable signs in Canadian cities than in the States, but far fewer billboards and 100' tall gas station signs near expressway exits.)

    > Governmental flags - is there a maximum footage allowed?

    You can establish a maximum square footage, but I can guarantee that it won't be seen as popular. A better way to control this is to limit the height of flag poles - make it the maximum height normally allowed in a zoning district. If the maximum height for a building in a C2 district is, say, 35', than the flagpole is limited to 35', and flying one of those monster US flags whose patriotic intent is questionable would be impractical.

    What is it with auto dealers and big flags, anyhow? I've also notices a corollary with banks and rotating signs, where they are allowed.

    > Are flags treated as portable signs?

    No. If they're on a pole, it's likely that the pole is permanently mounted in the ground, so it would be hard to show that they're "portable." A non-government flag could be seen as a temporary sign, though.

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