What will the permanent Prince Edward flag ordinance look like?

As it stands, Prince Edward County residents can have up to three flags on their property, totaling a combined 120 square feet. That’s due to an emergency ordinance put in place after the county supervisors’ June 13 meeting. But what will the permanent Prince Edward flag ordinance look like? First, a couple things need to happen.

First, there has to be a public hearing at the Prince Edward County Planning Commission’s next meeting.

That’s scheduled for Tuesday, July 18. According to Prince Edward Planning and Zoning Administrator Robby Love, that has to be done within 60 days of receiving the request from supervisors. After that public hearing, the planning commission will vote and decide if any changes need to be made to the emergency ordinance. Once they finish discussion and vote, it’ll go back to county supervisors for a final vote that way as well.

What triggered this?

This has been going back and forth since April 12, 2022, when the previous board of supervisors made a decision. That group put a maximum limit on the size of all flags in Prince Edward County. At that point, flags could be no larger than 40 square feet or 5 x 8. Flagpoles, meanwhile, could be no higher than 20 feet. The only way around either of these ordinances was through a special use permit.

Over the past year, there have been three oversize flag violations written and two advisory notices sent out. Love, there were also three notices sent out on flag poles erected without a permit. Four of those were American flags.

After a series of discussions, the current board of supervisors changed the rule last month. They went through several options. Option 1 meant nothing changes. That included a three flag limit, and every flag had to be no more than a maximum of 40 feet. Option 2 was also pretty simple: it would have removed all limitations. Residents could have put up any size flag, anywhere on their property. Option 3 involved getting a special use permit for flags, going through that each time you put in a new one. And finally, Option 4 would increase that maximum allowed height. A person could have three flags of any type, but combined they had to add up to no more than 120 square feet.

In the end, it came down to a discussion between Option 2, supported by Harrison Jones and David Emert, and Option 4, supported by everyone else.

Next steps for a Prince Edward flag ordinance

The June decision by supervisors did two things. First, it put the emergency ordinance in place. Second, it sent the issue to the county’s planning commission, so that a permanent solution could be developed. The public hearing, designed to take any suggestions from the 120 square foot rule from local residents, will be held Tuesday, July 18, at 7 p.m. That meeting will take place in the County Board Room on the third floor of 111 South Street in Farmville.

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