Proposal to limit flag size, flagpole height rejected in Fairfax Co.

Fairfax County, Virginia’s planning commission has voted against a proposal to add new restrictions on the height of flagpoles and the size of flags flying at homes and businesses.

The panel has been considering modernized zoning ordinances, which would alter the county’s current rule that limits the number of flags to three per lot with no size limitations.

In February, the commission detailed proposed changes, which would limit the height of flagpoles and size of flags, while recognizing the U.S. Supreme Court has prevented regulations based on content.

On a single-family lot, the proposal would limit flagpole height to 25 feet. For business lots, the maximum height would be 60 feet.

Regarding the size of flags on lots designed for single-family homes, the maximum size would be 24 square feet. On other lots, the flag size would be limited to 96 square feet.

“However, there has been an exceptional number of public comments, with concerns about this amendment,” said Tim Sargeant, the commission’s secretary.

In the weeks since the announcement of the proposed changes, public outcry has been strong, primarily about any restrictions to a person’s ability to fly the American flag.

Sargeant recommended retaining the current three-flags-per-lot limit, but opposed adding additional restrictions.

Planning Commission Vice Chairman John Ulfelder agreed: “This was a solution, looking for a problem. I suspect, based on a lot of comments we’ve received, a lot of other people perceived it the same way. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.”

The commission voted unanimously to deny the application, and recommend the Board of Supervisors not impose new restrictions on flags and flagpoles.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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