Skip to comments.Decorated Veteran, 90, Fights to Raise Flag in His Yard
Posted on 12/03/2009 11:17:07 AM PST by Mrs. Frogjerk
A veteran of three wars who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor is now facing an unlikely enemy his neighbors.
Col. Van T. Barfoot, 90, has raised the Stars and Stripes every day at sunrise and lowered them every day at sunset since he served in the U.S. Army. But on Tuesday he received a letter from the law firm that represents his homeowners' association, ordering him to remove the flagpole from his Richmond, Va. yard by 5 p.m. on Friday or face "legal action."
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
In this case, his “yard” IS community property.
Many developments, particularly those which market to retired folks, are set up as condominium-type communities. Under these types of arrangements, typically only the house itself belongs to the “homeowner” and the grounds belong to the association. Some of them even take maintenance responsibility for the exteriors of the dwellings (roof, siding, etc.).
These arrangements can be “convenient” for the homeowner, who will never again have to mow, trim, clean gutters, etc., but they ALL involve signing away some (or all?) of your individual property rights in exchange for the “privileges” offered.
I’m not defending the arrangement; I’m just saying “these are the facts”.
I urge anyone who is considering moving into a community such as this to VERY carefully read and study EVERY WORD in every document realated to the homeowners/property owner association, deed restrictions, covenants and agreements BEFORE signing on the bottom line and committing yourself to a regulated lifestyle.
With that said, I do not doubt that the board of directors of this property owners’ association CAN make this American hero, Col. Barfoot, take down his flag pole. The REAL question they should ask themselves is: What real, quantifiable GOOD will it do for our community to take this action. I think if they answer that question honestly, the board will change their mind and allow it to stay. A special permit which expires upon the gentlemans death would be one reasonable solution.
Do people here even take time to read the article before posting a comment? I can’t believe any Freeper that took the time to read the article would still be supporting him.
1. Flying the flag is ALLOWED, if flown on a pole mounted on the house.
2. Putting a 21 foot flagpole (higher than a 2 story house) in the middle of the front yard was never allowed.
3. Mr. Barfoot knew of the rules BEFORE he purchased his property, and decided to purchase the property anyway (rules and all.)
4. AFTER he purchased his property, he asked the homeowner’s association to change the rules. His request was denied.
5. Since he didn’t get his way, he decided the homeowner’s association rules (which he knew about and agreed to when he purchased the house) shouldn’t apply to him so he erected the flagpole.
6. Now that someone has pointed out that he is violated the homeowner’s agreement that he FREELY ENTERED INTO, he is playing the viticm.
I appreciate his service and sacrifice, but when you enter into a contract (and that is what a homeowner’s association is) then you are obligated to keep that contract.
He is NOT being denied the ability to fly the flag.
The issue is a 21 FOOT FLAGPOLE in the middle of his front yard. The type of flagpole usually found in the front of schools, corporate offices, or government buildings such as post offices.
A Richmond law firm, Marchant, Honey & Baldwin, offered yesterday to represent Barfoot at no cost, partner John Honey said.
In a statement released last night, the association said Barfoot is in direct violation of its board’s July decision to deny his request to erect a flagpole.
“This is not about the American flag. This is about a flagpole,” the statement reads, noting that many homes in the neighborhood display the American flag.
Margaret Nicholls, Barfoot’s daughter, said last night that the statement is using semantics to back up a board decision about the pole that was made on aesthetic, not regulatory grounds. There is no covenant that expressly forbids flag poles, she said.
Warner has known Barfoot for years and has a high regard for him, Warner spokesman Kevin Hall said. “The senator definitely wants to step in to get something resolved.”
Nicholls said her father’s phone “is ringing off the hook.” Members of the 157th Infantry Unit, with which he served, have called along with scores of people concerned about Barfoot’s welfare, she said.
You yelling at me? I was the one getting a beat down because I read the article and got blamed for supporting the hoa.
A Medal of Honor can be a prick if he wants to be.
I'm just curious. Where did you read that? It was my understanding that the flag pole was in his front yard.
I hate zero tolerance. The man is 90 years old, fought his whole life for his country, and was graced with a distinguished Medal of Honor. So, technically, maybe he shouldn’t have put up a flag pole on community property...but, so what, let the guy go...I think he’s earned the right to be left alone...at 90, it’s not like he’s going to have this flag flying for decades. If I was a resident of the community I would tell any objectors to get a life and not everything needs be enforced in their petty rules.
It can be a real pain
He went to war to defend a nation of laws. Now he wants to break the law. That doesn’t square-up.
That doesn’t seem to add up to me. And the last time I checked, the homeowners associations did not set the damned laws!
He’s a few blocks from my old house. He’ll be getting a Christmas card from me.
Damned right on that one!
Depends on the board. We had to move an old barn on our property to a new location because it was falling over and rotting from being stuck under a historic Japanese lilac tree (now 180 years old). We have three barns, and wanted to put this one to practical use as a garage.
We are in a “historical district” and had to go through an approval process. They said OK, but it has to be square to the house.
While I was off working, the contractor poured the foundation. It wasn’t quite square, because he had to fit it in between a septic mound, a pond, and power lines that run behind the house.
The Selectboard sued to set it square. We responded that there were other barns in the district that weren’t square, that we didn’t do it on purpose, and that there was no alternative. So, would they agree to reasonable modifications in the permit?
Long story short, after two years, three select board members were voted out, the suit was settled, and we still have our garage at the same slight angle. It cost the town $20,000 in legal fees and it cost me $2,000 in legal fees—because I didn’t feel the need to keep phoning my lawyer at big bucks per minute, and because my lawyer gave me a discount.
In other words, we’re all neighbors here, and we get along, but sometimes you can get a few big egos on a select board or neighborhood association.
He fought in three wars! He asked them to make an exception for him thinking that maybe, just maybe they would take that into consideration.
Unfortunately, he was wrong. People don't care if you risked your ass in war after war so that they could hold onto their freedom. Like the freedom to bust an old veterans balls over a damned flag poll!
HOAs can be a real PIA. On the other hand it’s nice to live in a neighborhood where your neighbor isn’t going to have a pack of dogs out in their backyard barking all night. But not to let someone put up a flag isn’t right.
“In other words, were all neighbors here, and we get along, but sometimes you can get a few big egos on a select board or neighborhood association.”
I understand. I had a Board member go around and on her own issued 148 letters to owners on such minor stuff it was silly. Lots of initial upset but when the whole board got together all the letters were pulled. You can have one or two but hopefully a full Board is more helpful then not to its community.
We have one guy now, our CC&R’s don’t allow antenna or sat dishes in public view, this guy just goes and puts a huge antenna strapped to his chimney in front of the house and all the neighbors are upset and he refuses to take it down.
It causes us problems and he tries to blame us.
Good post. However, logic will get you nowhere with some folks.
I thought this was America.
Let him fly his flag.
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