NC woman fighting HOA for freedom to fly American, state flags

Sherrill and her flags (Source: WECT)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – Red, white and blue–and causing a big debate in the Seascape neighborhood. Rhona Sherrill says flying her American and North Carolina flags is her way of expressing patriotism, but her HOA sees it as a broken rule.

“These flags, to me, represent the blood of the American people,” said Sherrill.

According to Seascape’s Statuary Landscape and House Ornaments Addendum, only one decorative and seasonal flag may be displayed per home, and only during official federal and national holidays. It also places her American and North Carolina state flags in the same category as a bird house.

“I received an email from the property owner’s liaison informing me that my two flags weren’t within the restrictive covenants of the community,” said Sherrill.

And that she must choose between Old Glory and the flag of the state she loves.

The two and a half inch binder that holds the do’s and don’ts of the neighborhood doesn’t include the flag addendum—that was added in 2009, and Sherrill says she had never seen it until it was sent to her in the email. She says she believes it violates federal and state law.

According to the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005, no residential real estate management association may adopt or enforce a policy that would restrict or prevent a member of the association from displaying the American flag on residential property.

The North Carolina flag is also protected. According to North Carolina General Statute 47F-3-121, there can be no restrictions on the display of the state or American flag.

We spoke with a law firm who says it’s ultimately up to the courts, but they believe she’s standing on solid ground.

“Our initial review of the addendum in question indicates that it is non-compliant with existing federal and state laws, and thus would likely be unenforceable in this case,” said attorney Nick Lovelace.
Sherrill agrees.

“If they can show me where restrictive covenants supersede state and federal law, I’ll remove them immediately.”

Then, and only then, will her flags come down.

Copyright 2015 WECT. All rights reserved.

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