Flegal's flag flap falls flat with inspectors

Flegal's flag flap falls flat with inspectors

December 17th, 2012 by Cliff Hightower in Local Regional News

American flags line the driveway of Affordable Computers on Highway 58. A new inspector in Chattanooga threatened Steve Flegal, general manager of the business, with a citation under a city ordinance that prohibits the display of any device intended to be wind-activated, but the city later said the inspector was wrong.

Photo by Allison Love /Times Free Press.

Steve Flegal put up 12 grand old flags in front of his business on Highway 58 four months ago.

He almost had to take them down.

"It was an issue, and I was going to be cited," Flegal said last week.

The flags stood about two feet off the ground and about eight feet from the highway in front of his business, Affordable Computers.

Flegal said a city inspector told him Thursday he had to take down the flags because the display violated a city ordinance stating that flags can only be flown on flagpoles.

But the inspector was wrong, city officials said later.

Richard Hutsell, the city's code inspector, said the inspector, who just started work Monday, misread the ordinance.

"Governmental flags are exempt," Hutsell said. He declined to identify the inspector. But it didn't end there.

Later Thursday, city inspectors called Flegal again, saying other signs at the location also violated city ordinances.

"When I said, 'What other sign issues?' he didn't even know," Flegal said.

Hutsell said there were violations with some banners on the premises. But he said everything was minor.

"Right now, we're just going to let the thing settle down," he said.