U.S. Marine Corps veteran Gregory Schaffe's American flag faces removal after neighbor's complaints
The Town of Hypoluxo requires flag pole permit
6:47 PM, Mar 27, 2013
1:36 PM, Mar 28, 2013
HYPOLUXO, Fla. -- A U.S. Marine who served overseas in Iraq has returned home in Hypoluxo only to be told he cannot fly his American flag.
Days after Gregory Schaffer installed a flag pole in his front yard, he received a citation from the Town of Hypoluxo listing the flag as a code violation.
"It's sad. It's sad that we have to go through that just to fly a flag," said Schaffer.
The 24-year-old Iraq war veteran said after serving overseas, it was a must to have a flag flying in his yard. But within days after hoisting up the flag, he was slapped with a citation after an anonymous neighbor filed a complaint with the town.
"It's disgusting that anybody should have to go through that. I fought for the flag, now I'm paying for the flag," said Schaffer.
The Town of Hypoluxo said this issue is not with his flag.
"Well he can fly his flag the issue is that he has to get a building permit," said Tim Large, who heads the building department for the town.
Large said the flag pole is considered a structure.
If Schaffer does not have a permit, the flag has to come down.
"I would love to see the guy be able to do this. To me it's not personal, it's strictly my job," said Large.
Schaffer said because he is renting the house, he has to have a third party contractor come in to apply for the permit, which could cost him nearly $1,000.
Whatever happens, Schaffer said he has no animosity toward the anonymous neighbor who complained.
The veteran said he knows complaining and petitioning are freedoms he fought for while serving in the armed forces.
"I respect their right to be able to file a complaint and handle things the way they did. Do I respect what they did? No. I respect their ability to do so," said Schaffer.
The Town of Hypoluxo building department official said normally a resident has 30 days to comply with a citation. In this case, the town will try to work with Schaffer to make sure he has every opportunity to fly his flag.