Couple in court over flagpole

Article Courtesy of The Myrtle Beach

By -- the Sun News

October 9, 2005


A Heritage Plantation couple who were fined $27,575 for putting up a flagpole will take their case to the state Appeals Court on Wednesday, seeking a new trial.


William Paone and Janice Paone were also directed to pay $15,054.83 for the plantation homeowners association's legal fees and costs.


The fine is egregious and not supported by the evidence, said Mark Bunty, the Paones' attorney. Richard Lovelace, attorney for Heritage Plantation, could not be reached.

Georgetown County Master in Equity Ben Culbertson ruled in favor of Heritage Plantation Homeowners Association in a non-jury trial.


Bunty said the fine is an example of how some homeowners associations abuse their power, but he does not expect the case to break new ground. The Paones just want a new trial, he said.


Some condominium regimes have fined residents for flying flags and erecting flagpoles in recent years, prompting legislation that assures residents the right to fly a flag.


But the Paone case was not of that nature, Bunty said. Heritage, a gated community on the Pawleys Island mainland, allows flagpoles. In this case, the dispute is over whether the homeowners association approved the Paones' flagpole.


Bunty said it was on the site plan submitted to the association, but the homeowners association said it was not. When the Paones put up the flagpole, the association protested because it was in the center of a circular driveway.


The position made the house look like an administrative building, the association told the owners, Bunty said. Other houses have flagpoles at the sides of the driveways.