Sunday, August 19, 2012

Carolina Beach business owner would have closed shop if forced to remove flags.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster / August 19, 2012



By Judy Royal / StarNewsOnline

A Carolina Beach business owner feels so strongly about his patriotism that he was prepared to close up shop for it.
Randy Wood, a veteran and owner of Red Hotz Electric Car Rentals at 515 N. Lake Park Blvd., said he would have shut down in 24 hours if he had to remove the 16 patriotic flags that fly around his building. But the Town Council's 4-1 vote last week making patriotic flags exempt from the sign ordinance will keep him here, he said.
"I would've pulled it," Wood said Friday. "I'd already be gone right now if it hadn't gone the way it did on Tuesday night."
Councilwoman Sarah Friede voted against the exemption because it also meant unlimited patriotic flags can fly in residential areas, and she expressed concerns about that.
"I don't know that I'm in agreement with unlimited anything, frankly," she said. "An unlimited display of anything is not necessarily in good taste. Where the line is between respect and disrespect, I don't know."
But other council members said restrictions would send the wrong message to service men and women who spend their money here.
"I don't have a problem with having patriotic flags really unlimited in our town," Councilman Bob Lewis said. "I agree the military enjoy seeing the display of patriotism we have in our town. I think it's great."
At issue were the 16 patriotic flags that have been flying on the Red Hotz lot since last summer. An ordinance the Town Council adopted in June classified all flags as signs and limited the number allowed to one per 50 feet of space a business owns along the road. Under that rule, two would be permissible at Red Hotz.
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