Business fined for flying an American Flag
ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- A fireworks vendor in Asheville has been fined $100 a day for flying three American flags, but he says he has no intention of taking them down.
The flags are on top of two tents and a building owned by TNT Fireworks. The tents are set up in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart Supercenter in east Ashville.
Several days ago, the city cited the fireworks company, saying that the flags violate city ordinances prohibiting signs on top of commercial structures. City officials said that flying the American flag as an advertisement to draw attention to the business is prohibited. City planner Shannon Tuch said that the city only wants people to fly the flag respectfully.
City Councilwoman Robin Cape said she doubts the sign ordinance was meant to prevent people from flying the American flag. The ordinance passed in 1997. Cape said she doesn't consider the American flag to be an advertisement.
Asheville resident Larry Bruckner said, "Now if it (the flag) had a big 'TNT fireworks gigantic, buy one get one free,' I could understand it, but it'* the American flag. We're celebrating our independence."
TNT manager said that the business closes on July 5, and the flags will stay up until then.
The man running the stand told News 4 on Monday that he'* been flying the American flags on his tents for the past 10 years and he wants to continue doing so in support of the Fourth of July.
The city gave the stand the option to move the flags elsewhere, but the staff declined.
On Tuesday, News 4 learned that city has halted the accumulation of the fines pending the outcome of the appeal process.
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