Veterans, who attend St. Luke's Presbyterian Church in Dunwoody, erected 40 American flags on church property the week before Memorial Day.
"It shows patriotism and our appreciation," said Pastor Jason Whitener.
However, Whitener was caught off guard when a man complained to city code enforcement officers.
According to Joe Hirsch, who lives near the church, the flags violated city ordinance. "The flags weren't even the issue. This was a test for the city to see if they're fair in their enforcement of codes and clearly it came out, they're not," said Hirsch.
City ordinance states, "no more than three flagpoles per lot". The only exception is on city, state, or federal holidays.
Wayne Radloff, a retired U.S. Navy Captain and a member of the church, admits they put the flags up early. "The flags went up the Sunday before, and that was because of the volunteers' schedules."
The volunteers removed the flags the Wednesday after Memorial Day.
Bill Grogan, Acting City Manager for Dunwoody, agreed the church was breaking the ordinance. He said a code enforcement officer gave the church a few days to remove the flags after receiving the complaint. "I think the council may look at it (the ordinance) now to see if there needs to be a little more leeway given around the holidays for the display of flags," added Grogan.
Hirsch said his goal was never to harm the church, rather to enact change. "It's very noble what the church is doing. It's unfortunate we have this code, and it should be rewritten."
In light of the complaint, Whitener said the church would have to reevaluate flags on holidays in the future. "We appreciate the freedom of speech and this particular citizen's opportunity to share his concerns and voice those," said Whitener.
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Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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