Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Copper Ranch flag controversy quelled

Homeowners association cites rules misinterpretation

Express Staff Writer

Residents at Copper Ranch now have clarity about flying the U.S. flag at their condominium development in Hailey. The Woodside development's homeowners association had notified owners of four units there that residents may not put anything in the common space of the property, including flags.

Residents under pressure to remove their flags now have permission to retain them, said Robin Perfect, one of the residents who was asked to remove a flag she and her husband were flying in honor of her son, Sgt. Edward Nalder, who is overseas with the Idaho Army National Guard's 116th Cavalry Brigade.

"The controversy has been resolved," Perfect said. "The HOA board has apologized and the flag can stay flying. It is one less worry for our son while he is serving."

Copper Ranch board member Jeff E. Smith, speaking on behalf of the homeowners association, said confusion arose out of a misinterpretation of "broad language" in the condominium rules written to promote "a uniform, tidy community."

Nationwide, condominium homeowners associations' governance of flags flying in common areas has been a source of debate since Sept. 11, 2001, when flag-flying became ubiquitous.

The right to fly the U.S. flag at a condominium is specifically addressed by the "Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005." The law states that "a condominium association ... may not adopt or enforce any policy ... that would restrict or prevent a member of the association from displaying the flag of the United States on residential property within the association ..."

Nowhere is the flag mentioned in the Copper Ranch Homeowners' Association rules, Smith said, adding that he had spent the day Friday responding to more than 100 e-mails regarding the Copper Ranch controversy.

"We fully intend on allowing them to display their patriotism," he said. "We're proud Americans and support our troops 100 percent. This was a total misunderstanding, personally and from the HOA board. I myself am a real supporter of America and our troops."

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