Rockbridge County Board of Supervisors To Decide Lexington 60 West Confederate Flag Appeal
In January, our organization installed a
memorial flag on leased, private property along 60 West in Rockbridge
County. The flag was raised as part of the Lee-Jackson Day
commemorations in Lexington.
Before we even raised the flag, local leftists and outside agitators
sought to prevent the installation. Pressure from these folks led to
attempts to stop the construction and installation. Even though we had
previously installed poles of the same height in other sections of
Rockbridge County and were told that NO BUILDING PERMIT WAS NEEDED, we
were advised that if we proceeded with the installation, we would face
fines and even imprisonment. At the time we received the initial
warning letter, the dedication was less than 24 hours away, and the only
thing left to do was place the pole. After VDOT visited the site and
assured us the location was not in the right of way, we decided to
proceed with the installation and file for the permit and address any
issues relating to it at a later date.
We filed for the necessary permit and agreed to move the pole the few
feet back from the road as requested. We have been advised that the
installation now meets all federal, state, and Rockbridge County laws
Because this property is located in the Tourism Corridor Overlay, the
submitted building permit had to have final approval from the TCO
Board. At its April 5th meeting, the board voted to DENY our
application for installation, even though we had met every applicable
zoning law and request. In their denial, the Board claimed that the
“proportionality of proposed structure and size of the proposed flag is
not harmonious and is inconsistent with other commercial development in
the area within the TCO District and that the said proportionality is
neither consistent nor compatible with the purpose and intent of the
Design and Construction Guidelines for the TCO, especially considering
the location and distance from the corridor road”.
Throughout this process, Rockbridge County officials have gone out of
their way to make the point that their attempts to deny the erection of
this memorial at every turn has nothing to do with the fact that it is a
Confederate memorial and flag, when, in fact, it is apparent that this
is exactly why the installation received the full attention of county officials.
Our legal team researched the referenced TCO District Design and
Construction guidelines and found no discernible, objective guidelines
for structures in the corridor. Board members are free to decide issues
using their own objective opinions, which is exactly what happened on
April 5th. There are no hard facts in the document that
would define any size or height ration between any structure and
another. It is a totally subjective process that was tainted with
political correctness and cowardice in the face of political pressure.
To subjectively claim that a memorial to honor Lee, Jackson, and all
Confederate Veterans that is erected in keeping with every applicable
zoning law is “not harmonious” with the guidelines of the TCO, with no
specific guidelines to reference, is nothing more than back alley
politics and a clear violation of the property owner’s first amendment
rights of expression.
We have filed an appeal with the Rockbridge County Board of Supervisors
and have asked them to reverse the decision of the TCO Board and approve
our application as submitted. We cannot think of anything more
"appropriate" than a memorial to Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson
flying in Lexington, Virginia.
The Board of Supervisors meets tonight (Monday, June 12th) and will
consider our appeal. Please take a moment to contact them today and ask
them to approve our application.
John M Higgins (540) 460-7079 firstname.lastname@example.org
Russell S. Ford (540) 460-6750 email@example.com
David W. Hinty, Jr. (540) 784-0709 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ronnie R. Campbell (540) 377-6148 email@example.com
Albert W. Lewis, Jr. (540) 570-5094 firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are in the Rockbridge County area, please attend the 5:30 meeting and let your voice be heard!
Board of Supervisors Meeting Room, 1st Floor
150 South Main Street
Lexington, Virginia 24450
We will keep you updated on the decision tonight, and the progress on
the installation of several dozen new flags which have been inspired by
the county's actions regarding the 60 West Memorial Battle Flag.