After nearly an hour of public comment on Tuesday night, the Orange County Board of Commissioners voted to regulate the size of flags and flag poles on private property.
The text amendment to the county’s Unified Development Ordinance came after a large Confederate flag was hoisted along Highway 70 just outside Hillsborough. The group Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County worked to raise the flag in question and has been rumored to be working on getting other flags raised throughout the county.
Public comment was split among the more than 20 residents who spoke to the commissioners Tuesday night. While the ordinance amendment is content neutral, much of the discussion centered on the Confederate flag and the message the flag sends to residents.
Flags that are out of compliance with the new regulations have one year to come into compliance.
An adjustment was proposed by the county attorney recommending a smaller setback than was initially put before the commissioners.
Under the new regulations, one flag pole will be allowed on property in residential zoning districts with up to three flags; each flag can be a maximum of 24 square feet and the flag pole can be a maximum of 24 feet high. Flag poles must also be set back 20 feet from the property line.
In other zoning districts, up to three flags and three flag poles will be allowed. The flags can be a maximum of 96 square feet; the flag pole can be a maximum of 54 feet high and must be set back 20 feet from the property line.
Commissioner Earl McKee made a motion to defer the decision to a June meeting of the commissioners to allow for additional comment, but that motion died for lack of a second.
The ultimate vote Tuesday night was 6-0. Chair of the commissioners Mark Dorosin was absent from the meeting.
Photo via Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County Facebook Page