LOUISA COUNTY, Va. – The Virginia Flaggers were narrowly denied an appeal to keep a massive Confederate flag erected on private property that flanks Interstate 64 in Louisa County.
After two hours of discussion and a public hearing, the Louisa County Board of Zoning Appeals voted 4-3 to deny the appeal to keep up the flag, reported WCAV.
County officials said that the Flaggers didn’t seek approval before installing the 120-foot tall, 30 x 50-foot flag known as the “Charlottesville I-64 Spirit of Defiance Memorial Battle Flag” earlier this year in March.
The county’s zoning ordinance stipulates a 60-foot maximum for height unless a zoning appeal or building permit is approved. The rule, according to WCAV, excludes certain sites such as silos, church spires and monuments.
The county said they sent out a violation notice to the Flaggers in April, informing the group to either reduce the height of the flagpole, apply for a special exception with the board of supervisors, or remove it.
The Flaggers maintain that they had done due diligence in calling the proper office for zoning and building permit information.
The group accused Louisa County officials “of lying about our contacts and that we had willfully and intentionally ignored zoning laws,” in a press release distributed to the media.
“Stressing our experience in having raised 27 flags in the Commonwealth, we effectively argued that we would not spend the $14,500 it cost to raise this flag, without getting proper confirmation of county requirements, nor would we attempt to knowingly and willfully violate county laws and regulations, as county officials and some speakers claimed,” said a group representative.
The property owner contacted the group about the prospect just after Charlottesville City Council voted, in February 2017, to remove the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a city park, according to a Flaggers spokesperson.
At the time, a Flaggers spokesperson said it was flown in honor of all Confederate soldiers as well as Private Richard Willis Proffitt, 1st Battalion, Virginia Reserves, 57th Infantry, whose grave is nearby.
The group said they will appeal the decision and have their case heard in Louisa Circuit Court.
The flag is still flying, they said.