Monday, June 12, 2017

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 and regulations.

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.

Contact info:
John M Higgins  (540) 460-7079
Russell S. Ford (540) 460-6750
David W. Hinty, Jr. (540) 784-0709
Ronnie R. Campbell (540) 377-6148
Albert W. Lewis, Jr. (540) 570-5094

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.

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