Flagpole noise pollution
June 30, 2003
Enrolled, delivered, and approved just in time for Flag Day, Senate Bill 100 will establish a state commission to hear complaints about homeowners association boards of directors. But it also has a provision for the display of the American flag.
The bill’s author, Sen. Michael Schneider, D-Clark County, said, “It’s a watershed bill (SB100), according to the staff in research, it’s the most significant piece of legislation in the nation this year. We’re the fastest growing state in the nation so other states will be watching and will copy what we’ve done.”
The homeowner associations are, in effect, governments, according to Schneider.
“We’ve just said they’re governments; we are treating them like governments.” Schneider said. “There are cases of condo commandos, and some of these people act like Nazis with little dictatorships. For instance, you could have a postal worker from Buffalo who may not have gone postal, but became president of the homeowners association board instead and is now driving around in his Cadillac telling people what they can and can’t do.”
Appropriately in the wake of 9/11, the flag became a nationally unifying symbol again – but in this case, it has become a symbol to be appropriated for homeowner disputes with their associations.
Recent legislation concerning those rights won’t go into effect until Oct. 1.
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Lee Stevenson wants to put up an American flag today. She bought a flagpole, but has nowhere to put it.
Stevenson said her homeowners association sent her a letter after she applied for the flagpole.
“I applied for a flagpole and they hand-delivered this letter with all these restrictions,” Stevenson said, such as the noise pollution created by lanyards clanking against the flagpole.
The letter from her homeowners association dated June 23 states: “First, it should be made perfectly clear that you were not denied the right to fly the U.S. flag. The ACC (Architectural Control Committee) rejected your method of displaying the colors of the United States as planned for use on common area property. In light of changing feelings, and future enacting of AB 408, Common Interest Associations have been required to review requirements for display of the U.S. flag.”
Assembly Bill 408 also deals with the display of the flag, with a provision that executive boards of common-interest communities and landlords may not prohibit a unit’s owner or tenant from engaging in the display of the flag.
Concerning SB 100 and the HOA controversy, Schneider explained some of the ideas behind the bill.
“I didn’t think you could freely give up your constitutional rights,” he said. “And that’s one of the reasons why we have this bill.”
Schneider related an incident in which a homeowner turned a flag-raising party into a media event in Las Vegas.
“They raised the flag, media showed up, and they took it down the next day,” Schneider said.
Stevenson plans to do the same thing after Independence Day.