Eagles Crossing Drive
Hunters Creek Community Association
14101 Town Loop Blvd
Orlando, FL 32837
This letter is in response to your letter of 13 September ordering me to
remove my flagpole. In the event
you are unaware of Florida Statue 720, the following is the pertinent portion of
720.304 Right of
owners to peaceably assemble; display of flag; SLAPP suits prohibited.--
(1) All common areas and recreational
facilities serving any homeowners' association shall be available to parcel
owners in the homeowners' association served thereby and their invited guests
for the use intended for such common areas and recreational facilities. The
entity or entities responsible for the operation of the common areas and
recreational facilities may adopt reasonable rules and regulations pertaining to
the use of such common areas and recreational facilities. No entity or entities
shall unreasonably restrict any parcel owner's right to peaceably assemble or
right to invite public officers or candidates for public office to appear and
speak in common areas and recreational facilities.
(2) Any homeowner may
display one portable, removable United States flag or official flag of the State
of Florida in a respectful manner, and on Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag
Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day may display in a respectful manner
portable, removable official flags, not larger than 41/2
feet by 6 feet, which represent the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine
Corps, or Coast Guard, regardless of any declaration rules or requirements
dealing with flags or decorations.
(3) Any owner
prevented from exercising rights guaranteed by subsection (1) or subsection (2)
may bring an action in the appropriate court of the county in which the alleged
infringement occurred, and, upon favorable adjudication, the court shall enjoin
the enforcement of any provision contained in any homeowners' association
document or rule that operates to deprive the owner of such rights.
(4) It is the intent of the Legislature to
protect the right of parcel owners to exercise their rights to instruct their
representatives and petition for redress of grievances before the various
governmental entities of this state as protected by the First Amendment to the
United States Constitution and s. 5, Art. I of the State Constitution. The
Legislature recognizes that "Strategic Lawsuits Against Public
Participation" or "SLAPP" suits, as they are typically called,
have occurred when members are sued by individuals, business entities, or
governmental entities arising out of a parcel owner's appearance and
presentation before a governmental entity on matters related to the homeowners'
association. However, it is the public policy of this state that government
entities, business organizations, and individuals not engage in SLAPP suits
because such actions are inconsistent with the right of parcel owners to
participate in the state's institutions of government. Therefore, the
Legislature finds and declares that prohibiting such lawsuits by governmental
entities, business entities, and individuals against parcel owners who address
matters concerning their homeowners' association will preserve this fundamental
state policy, preserve the constitutional rights of parcel owners, and assure
the continuation of representative government in this state. It is the intent of
the Legislature that such lawsuits be expeditiously disposed of by the courts.
As such, my flag(s) and flagpole will
remain and Old Glory will continue to fly appropriately and respectfully. I have received several compliments on my flag display and
have had people tell me they specifically enjoyed seeing the “Don’t Tread On
Me” Flag that I occasionally fly. I
have had request to fly that particular flag more often. I will continue to exercise my rights as a property owner,
American citizen and disabled American Veteran.
Perhaps you may want to view the
Concerned Citizens for Justice website (www.ccfj.com)
for information on the law and flag flying.
They have accumulated a great deal of legal information on the topic.
If necessary, I will contact them for assistance, as well as the Disabled
American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Senators Nelson and Martinez and
Congressman Keller for additional assistance.
Governor Bush and Attorney General Charlie Christ will also be contacted
as well as local and national news organizations and talk shows, such as the
Sean Hannity show. I do not want to
take these extreme steps, but I am willing to do so.
MY FLAG WILL CONTINUE TO FLY!
Edward F. Granahan
CTI1(NAC) USN- Retired
October 31, 2005
Eagles Crossing Drive
Creek Community Association
Town Loop Blvd
Based on advice
from the Honorable Andy Gardiner, I am attempting to resolve the issue
concerning the flagpole at my residence at 14742 Eagles Crossing Drive.
As I have stated in my previous letter, FS 720 allows me to fly the flag.
FS 720 was also modified by SB 148 and is quoted (in part) for your
reference. You may also be interested in a 2002 ruling on homeowners’
association’s restrictions on flying the flag.
A portion of the article is quoted as follows: “...circuit judge Ronald Alvarez removed all homeowners’
association’s restrictions against fly the American Flag.”(1)
article on SB148 may also be of interest to you.
Bush signed into law today a bill guaranteeing Floridians' right to fly the
United States flag at their homes, regardless of rules set by a homeowners'
association. Senate Bill 148, an act relating to the Display of the United
States Flag, was filed to address arbitrary rules enacted by homeowner
associations to prevent flying of the American flag. It also allows homeowners
to file a suit if prevented from flying the flag in a reasonable, respectful
manner. Senate Bill 148 was sponsored by Senator Steven Geller and
Representative Eleanor Sobel and was co-sponsored by Senators Tom Lee, Daryl
Jones, Ginny Brown-Waite, Al Lawson, Les Miller Jr., Ron Klein, Ron Silver, Rod
Smith, Richard Mitchell, Skip Cambell, Kendrick Meek, and Representatives
Eleanor Sobel, Matt Meadows, Dennis Baxley, Nancy Detert, Don Brown, Mike Fasano,
Mike Hogan, Paula Dockery, Will Kendrick, Roger Wishner.
"Since September 11,
American flags have flown proudly from store fronts, office buildings, dorm
rooms and car windows. There's absolutely no reason they shouldn't grace the
fronts of Floridians' homes," Governor Bush said. "This bill will
ensure that all Floridians can show their patriotism, no matter where they
SB148 states, and portions are copied directly from the
bill as follows:
Florida Senate - 2002
CS for SB 148
CS for SB 148
2 An act relating to to
3 amending s. 720.304,
F.S.; providing that any
4 homeowner may display a
United States flag;
5 amending s. 720.3075,
6 association documents
from placing certain
7 restrictions on the
display of a United States
8 flag; providing for
retroactive application of
9 the act; providing an
(2) Any homeowner may display one portable, removable
31 United States flag in a respectful manner, regardless of any
1 declaration rules or requirements dealing with flags or
The bill goes on to further state:
Section 3. This act applies retroactively regardless
23 of any declaration rules or requirements of a homeowners'
24 association dealing with flags or decorations.
25 Section 4. This act
shall take effect upon becoming a law.
feel that due to your demand that I remove my flag “on the advise of your
lawyers” that I will feel intimidated since I cannot afford to hire a lawyer
to fight you. However, you are
mistaken. While I cannot afford to
hire a lawyer, I will continue to fight for my rights as a Floridian, Veteran,
and as an American! I feel very strongly about my country and my Flag.
I served 20 years of active duty in the US Navy and an additional 10
years of reserve duty. I have stood the watch on foreign lands most of my adult life
to protect the freedoms all American enjoy.
I now demand that the freedoms I have fought to maintain for others now
be afforded to me.
I note that in
your initial letter, I was in violation of your rules because 1) my flag was
larger than 3 x 5 (it is in fact 4 x 6), 2) there were two flags flying (The
United States Flag, and the United States Navy Flag), and 3) I have a flagpole.
When I delivered my initial response to the community association, the
association has 1) a flagpole with 2) a large US flag, and 3) a community
association flag (2 flags!). Why are you allowed to have what you deny others?
suggest you reconsider your position concerning my flagpole and comply with the
state law and the recent judicial decisions.
My flagpole is at the low end of the size recommended for single story
residential flagpoles. A flagpole
is a “proper and respectful” manner in which to display the flag. It is in compliance with Title 36 United States Code Chapter
Title 36 United
States Code Chapter 10 section 176 (Respect for the Flag), suggest that the flag
should never be displayed in such a manner as to touch anything beneath it.
It also states the flag should fly aloft and free. The code also states:
“The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a
manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.”(2).
A flagpole fulfills all of these requirements.
The community association guidelines for a house mounted flagstaff do not
allow the flag to fly “aloft and free” and also allows the flag to be easily
torn, soiled or damaged by hitting the wall and roof of the residence.
This method also allows the flag to “touch” items beneath it.
Additionally, my neighbors have all expressed support for my flag display
and are willing to sign petitions attesting to such.
As I try to
understand why this issue is not as clear to others as it is to me, I am
reminded of something Lyn Nofziger said, "Government by its very nature is
a bully. Laws give authority to those in government and authority always
corrupts, not necessarily in terms of lying, cheating and stealing but in terms
of wielding power until eventually it becomes excessive. The framers of
the Constitution thought they had devised a government of limited power, one
that would insure liberty and the rights of individuals, one that made
government the servant of the people, not its master. In the long run they
failed. They had to fail because of the imperfection of man. They
failed because individuals, sometimes but not always for the best and most
honorable of reasons, inevitably usurp authority and power, regardless of what
the Constitution says. People who enter government service because of a
desire to serve forget why they came and wind up with a desire to rule, with a
firm belief that they know better than those they are supposed to serve what is
good for them. Or, alternatively, they reach the point where they think
the rights of others are secondary. ...The question now is: How much
tyranny are Americans willing to put up with?"
is not willing to put up with any more.
Edward F. Granahan
Man Free to Fly Flag. Judge
removes restrictions on flags. Article
courtesy of News 4 JAX.com, Posted July 3, 2002
36 United States Code Chapter 10 S 176 (e)
Enclosures: (to cc only)
letter dated September 13, 2005
Response to HCCA letter
letter dated October 19, 2005
of Community Association building and flags
Honorable Jeb Bush
Honorable Andy Gardiner
Department of Business and Professional Regulation,
Homeowners’ Association Arbitration (Attn:
General Charlie Crist
American Center for Law and Justice
MANAGEMENT OCTOBER 19, 2005