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Leland Town Council: Your flag is too big, take it down

READ MORE: Leland gas station causes flag flap

LELAND, NC (WWAY) -- To many the American flag is a symbol of freedom, but in Leland, that does not apply to having a huge American flag. A gas station is flying the stars and stripes not in compliance to town codes.

The flag that is flying high in Leland is eight by 11 feet in size. That's the same size of the flag that flies outside the White House in Washington, DC, but it's causing a lot more controversy in our area.

Tom Morris is a veteran, who owns the ice cream shop next to the Stop n Go gas station off US 17. Like many Leland residents he says the over-sized flag is fine the way it is, but a town ordinance says the flag is too big.

"I would like to see them change this ordinance, because it is just a town ordinance," Morris said. "It's something they can sit down and change to let this flag fly high and stand."

Stop n Go manager Naseer Odeh says the gas station got a permit from the county to put the flag up, but now the town of Leland says it's out of code.

The store's owners, most of their customers and residents here say the size of an American flag should not matter.

"I mean let's face it, when we were little guys in school, that's how we started: Saying the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, and that's where it all begins," Morris said. "And we put our hand over our heart, because we have a big heart for the American flag."

The Stop n Go has more than 1,500 signatures on a list supporting the large flag. Odeh says he put the flag up, and that's where it's gonna stay, even if Leland decides to fine or cite the gas station. He says he is waiting until the next town meeting to see where things go.

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I just want to say thank you

I just want to say thank you to the owners of the gas station. My father served in the Special Forces Army for 25 years and my cousin just returned home from war. They put their lives on the line so that Americans can fly our flags high and proud. I am proud to see that the owners are standing up for our American 1st Amendment rights. This county needs more people like them! Stop n Go owners, Thank you for holding true to AMERICAN PRIDE!

where does it stop

Where does it stop? Does it really matter what the letter of the law says. No matter if it is right or wrong should the Town have even gone there? Is the Code Enforcement officer just trying to prove they are always right. What’s next are you going to go after everyone that has American Flag in their name. What about Americas are you going to stop that too? Do we have to stop singing about the flag because we didn’t get permission? What about political bumper stickers.Come on, aren’t there bigger problems. Sounds like the store owner needs to contact NC ACLU

I lived in Leland for more

I lived in Leland for more than 30 years in the last 15 years it has been getting worst. But believe they have hit rock bottom now. The flag is to big, havent ever heard of such. Some more of the political BS that the officals of the town can come up with.They have come up with all kind of BS that the orginal home town people of Leland has pulled up roots and left. I know it used to be if you said anything bad about Leland it was fighting words. Now with everything that has and is going on in the town the officals can stick Leland where the sun dont shine.They worried about a flag, get a life.

I say we find the biggest

I say we find the biggest dang flag we can find and post it up.

But wait... its ok to have a 100ft HARDEES sign you can see a mile away?

Give me a break!

Politicians like to wrap

Politicians like to wrap themselves in the flag to demonstrate their love of country, but don't you think people see through that? Ask yourself for what purpose you use the flag in an advertisement and how/if it really helps you "sell" your product/service. If it does, go ahead.

it's a freedom of speech issue

Does anyone remember this case? Eventually they backed off and let Trump keep his so keep fighting.
Dec 23, 2006 5:13 pm US/Pacific
Trump Sues For $10M Over American Flag Dispute

Donald Trump's attorneys filed a complaint saying that flying the flag is a constitutionally protected expression of free speech -- and that the large flag is a proper match for the size of the real-estate mogul's patriotism. (File)

Donald Trump is suing this oceanside town for $10 million after being cited for flying an oversized American flag over his Mar-a-Lago Club.

Attorneys for the club filed a complaint Thursday, saying that flying the flag is a constitutionally protected expression of free speech -- and that the large flag is a proper match for the size of the real-estate mogul's patriotism.

"A smaller flag and pole on Mar-A-Lago's property would be lost given its massive size, look silly instead of make a statement, and most importantly would fail to appropriately express the magnitude of Donald J. Trump's and the Club's members' patriotism," the lawsuit says.

Town officials said Trump violated zoning codes when the lavish club hoisted a 15-by-25-foot flag atop an 80-foot pole on Oct. 3. The citation was for having a flagpole taller than 42 feet, for not obtaining a building permit and for not getting permission from the landmarks board.

A phone message left at the mayor and town council's office was not returned Saturday.

In the lawsuit, Trump's attorneys accuse the town of selectively enforcing its ordinances. Other locations in the town display flags that violate statutes, the lawsuit alleges.

All damages awarded to the club would be donated to veterans of the war in Iraq, the lawsuit said.

"The day you need a permit to put up the American flag, that will be a sad day for this country," Trump said in October.

Is this really code enforcement?

I always thought effective code enforcement should have a major influence on the health and safety of the towns citizens. So it seems like there are a lot more serious safety issues in the town to worry about instead of worrying about the size of a flag. Aren’t there any housing code violations out there? Maybe the code enforcement officer should actually do the job as it was meant to be.

Was a complete investigation done before the notice of fines was sent?
How does this affect the health and safety of any citizen?
Did the code enforcement officer try to educate the owners and explain the ordinance?
What prompted the citation?
Wouldn’t it be better to promote community awareness of and facilitate voluntary compliance with town codes, enhance the quality of life and foster civic pride?
Wouldn’t it be better to be working towards compliance than punishment?
Were various options suggested to the owner, like trying a variance?
Have you looked at the The U.S. Code as it relates to the flag? It is advisory only and has no penalties attached to it at this time.
The National Flag Foundation has a lot of information on flags and lists ratios for size of the flag to length of the pole. Did anyone bother to check there? Their phone number is 412-261-1776. This is what they list as recommended heights and sizes

Flag (Feet) Flagpole Size (Feet)

3 x 5 15
4 x 6 20-25
5 x 8 30-40
6 x 10 45-50
8 x 12 50-60
10 x 15 65-70
12 x 18 80-90
15 x 25 100

The laws relating to the flag of the United States of America are found in detail in the United States Code. Title 4, Chapter 1 pertains to the flag; Title 18, Chapter 33, Section 700 regards criminal penalties for flag desecration; Title 36, Chapter 3 pertains to patriotic customs and observances. These laws were supplemented by Executive Orders and Presidential Proclamation.


Wasn't there a senate bill (722) to limit local government ordinances regulating American flag to size and location requirements related to public health and safety? Did it ever pass?

On behalf of my husband who

On behalf of my husband who PROUDLY serves our country.....the American Flag is NEVER big enough!!! Too many soldiers have sacrificed their lives to give these idiots the freedom to forget what it is like to be a true American. Find another hobby people. Realize that you are on safe soil b/c of our soldiers who fight for that flag, for our freedom! I can tell you from a military wife perspective, seeing an American Flag wave, gives me comfort when my soldier is away! It gives me support knowing that America is behind him! It gives me hope! These people need to find something else to bicker about! God Bless those who serve and their families and keep OUR flag waving!!!!

Hate to mention this...

According to the U.S. Flag Code, flags flown 24 hours a day need to be proper illuminated - and this one is not. Stick some lights on this puppy and I might consider signing the petition. Secondly, the flag currently flying in Leland is so large, it could not be properly flown at half staff when requested by state and federal decree. Folks, it's not about being "unpatriotic"'s about have rules and regulations that protect the flag itself. Sorry, that's my two cents.

this is not about the safety of the flag

The issue stated was the size not the code enforcement officer is back tracking to cover her idiotic approach and claiming it is about safety. That is her catch all. She will probably claim that this was a routine inspection. That's her favorite line when she lies. I should know I have received several letters from her only to find out some other party like the police who couldn't get something done asked her to do something so she lies and says she received and anonymous complaint. The entire issue is that you have someone who has no respect, thinks she is above any one, has absolutely no common sense and is out to make a name for her. Instead of focusing on real problems. Hey by the way are you defending her because you work with her. Seems like I've heard another young know it all on staff always say "folks" during council meetings.

real patriotism

I guess the question you have to ask yourself, is for what purpose would you use the flag? Perhaps I'm old-fashioned, but unless I own a business or am part of an organization that is selling American flags or perhaps saluting the country or armed forces, I could find alternatives to the flag that can represent patriotism.

I believe the flag IS

I believe the flag IS illuminated. What is considered PROPERLY illuminated? The pole is tall enough for the flag to be flown half staff.

On that note, by Section C

On that note, by Section C the Flag Manual,"A flag in any position below the peak(the top of the mast or truck) is technically in the half-mast position,". It goes on to say in general it should be halfway between the peak and the foot. But, I think we all know that these are not the regulations in question. Didn't all this start because of a town ordnance stating the size in square inches or something, and not the way it's diplayed? Or, should everybody that is not flying our flag by the exact standards be fined $50.00 a day until they take it down? Who came up with that rediculous ordnance, anyway? I'm just proud to see so many people still flying them!

Does any one know the size

Does any one know the size of the pole.
The town ordinance says it can't be more than 40 feet but it only limits the actual size of the flag if it does not meet the protocol established by the Congress of the United States for the Stars and Stripes.Then and only then is the size of the flag limited to 60 square feet.

Section 30-390 #5

Flags.. Such flags shall be flags of the United States of America, the state, the county, the town or foreign nations having diplomatic relations with the U.S., and any other flag adopted or sanctioned by an elected legislative body of competent jurisdiction, provided that such flags shall not be flown from a pole, the top of which is more than 40 feet in height. Such flags shall be flown in accordance with protocol established by the Congress of the United States for the Stars and Stripes. Any flag not meeting these conditions shall be considered a banner sign and shall be subject to regulation as such. The maximum size of such flag is 60 square feet. In conjunction with, and only in conjunction with the flag set forth in this subsection, business and/or corporate logo flags, with a maximum size of three feet by four feet, may be flown. Such corporate and logo flags are to be displayed on a one-to-one relationship with the other flags listed in this subsection.


I am sure you have no problem accepting the tax revenue from this location. How is it in this day and age where our freedoms are endangered on a daily basis that a town has taken issue with the very symbol that declares that freedom? Everyone that supports the removal and/or fines needs to be removed from their position. I say we contact the national media and have them converge on town hall and plaster their faces on the television. Or better yet show them the videos of 9/11 again and again to remind them of why we cherish and hold dear our colors of freedom.

Flying Flag

Are you serious? The flag is too big to fly? What harm is it doing? Is it impairing the view of the road? Is it hurting anyone? To the contrary, it is showing the patriotism of the area. I know the law is law, but can't some cases be reviewed on their own merit? So I appeal to Mayor Walter Futch, Town Manager Bill Fariss and Town Council Members to reconsider this situation and let's continue making Leland a wonderful place to call "home".

Old Glory and Old Glorified

Yes, there is a battle raging in Leland, which is more important to the Leaders of Leland? The once remove glorified manager of Wilmington who is imposing his own image of Leland on all of its citizens or our national symbol of good and equality, while the nations symbol deserves its place flying high and in any form it deems necessary, The glorified feels compelled to have no symbol greater than himself present in the minds of his citizens, therefor you can expect the glorified to decide this for the leaders as they are unaware they have relied on poor leadership to see them to a rational conclusion. Justice must be tempered with common sense!

Let's not blame all for the ignorance of one

There are a lot of fine compassionate people who work for the town so please lets not put down everyone because someone who is young and dumb utilized poor judgment in pursuing this issue.

Leland vs. Old glory

Seems like not to long ago there was an issue in Magnolia Greens about a patriot flying a flag on his property. Such a shame that this is what our country is turning into. It took a devistating attack by terrorist on our soil for americans to pull together in support of the USA...people standing on bridges and street corners waving old glory. I recall driving up hwy 29 outside of Warrenton VA on 9/11 and I saw this man standing on the road at an intersection out in the country waving old glory...those days are long gone again. And now here we are with a local government who is telling a patriot his flag is against code...please, if you dont like it move to North Korea or Cuba. This sounds like some trash that St.Jersy would start...this should be a violation of constitutional right...Keep flying your Ol'Glory high, proud, and true and add the Don't Tread on Me below her!!!

American Flag at Leland

The flag is beautiful. so let it fly! The gas station has a petition in support of the flag, and I urge everyone who supports this flag to drop by and sign the petition.

I will make it there

I will make it there tomorrow! Thanks for the info.

Eye opener

Growing up, dreaming about being a United States Marine, I never thought we would ever argue about such a thing.

Did you imagine anythings such as these?

Cornflakes would come in a bi-lingual box?

That you would have to "press one" to hear your bank talk to you in English?

People waving flags other than "Old Glory" are squawking and screaming in the streets demanding more rights and free liberties?

That you have to wait 6 hours to be seen by an emergency room doctor?

That your little girls second grade class is behind other schools because half of her class doesn't speak English?


That our working class families taxes skyrocket to pay for free healthcare, education and welfare for those that illegally enter our country and do not pay taxes?

Exactly. The only time I

Exactly. The only time I have ever waved a flag other than the American flag was at the Greek festival when I was celebrating my Greek heritage. It was during the Greek bands playing and Greek dancing. During protests, only the American flag should be flown. However, it is unconstitutional to tell anyone they can't fly their own flag during demonstrations, but like I said, the only time I wave any flag other than the American is during my heritage festivals. I will also wave the Navy flag, because I am in the Navy.

Kudos to you

Kudos to you guest461... I could fill in a few more, but what difference does it make...welcome to the "socialist states of America" #1 for BS!

I was sickened when I went

I was sickened when I went through a McDonalds drive through years back and saw spanish on top and english below...I was mad.

Why is ya'll taking about

Why is ya'll taking about the U.S. Flag. If it big so want let the Lealnd, Navassa, Northwest, Wnniabow, Beville, Maco, and Sandy Creek Rest. The flag is fine were it at.

The American Flag is TOO big?

Are you serious? There is a town ordinance in Leland about regulating the size of the flag of The United States of America? What a friggin joke, Leland officials should be ashamed of themselves...or maybe they are ALL just socialistic democrats.

ATTENTION to the owner of that store: Hold you ground my American friend, and when the Leland officials come out to remove it themselves...Call CNN and Fox News and get it on a NATIONAL level.

Flag too big...what a bunch of friggin B.S. The Leland officials need to be deported immediatly. This country is going to hell in a handbasket I swear.


It's statements like this that make me worry about the future of our country.

There is no ordinance regulating the size of the American Flag in Leland. There is however, an ordinance stating that a flag larger than 60 square feet is considered a banner sign. Signs are in fact regulated, and you can't argue the fact that this business is using the flag as a sign, to draw attention to itself and bring in more customers.

Now, while I agree with most - the flag should be left alone - I disagree with your statements and the ideas behind them.

You have shown no thought processes behind your remarks. You obviously haven't researched the town code, you immediately resort to labeling every single person in the town government as socialists, and apparently have *no* idea what the word 'deport' means. Deport the town officials? Deport them to where? Here? They are already in their country of origin.

I'm not trying to bash you or start an argument, all I'm saying is how about a little critical thinking before making generalized statements that misconstrue and mislead? It isn't wise to base your outlook on hasty generalizations. Don't base your political views on Hannity and Glenn Beck. All I'm asking is for a little understanding of the subject matter before going off on a tirade. Thank you.