Flag pole becomes center of debate

Flag pole is center of discussion at the Albany Dougherty Commission meeting. / Jessica Fairley

The Albany Dougherty Planning Commission is making recommendations that may affect the way city signs are displayed.

The manager for the Albany Dougherty Development Services approached the commission with concerns for the message duration of roadside LED lights, wanting to change the existing lag time from one minute to 30 seconds.

"To be able to profit better and to get more functionality out of the signs if they changed it to a thirty second duration it would be better," says Tracy Hester, Manager for the Albany Dougherty Development Services.

Hester says it's a way for large companies to make a profit off their investment.

A motion was made to change the time duration and the recommendation was approved.

During Thursday's meeting officials also discussed the possibility of changing a rule from allowing only one flag pole per lot to up to three flag poles per lot but they ran into a few obstacles when trying to understand the full scope of the issue.

"Are we doing that per legal lot? Are we doing it per lot? Are we doing that business site? It was brought to our attention that there's a great deal of difference between those various terms," says Albany Dougherty Planning Commission Vice Chairman Steven Kaplan.

Commissioners then got into the issue of how many flags can be on one pole.

"You think what does a flag have to do with a sign ordinance, but the idea that it can be used as advertisement is where the problem is," says Steven Kaplan.

And he says unfortunately the American flag is not an exception.

"All of us in our hearts certainly we would like to have accommodations made so that we can fly anywhere we want the American flag as long as it's not confusing advertising or something else. The problem is that these are issues that are governed by a constitution law that is very complicated legally," Kaplan says.

Many of those in the meeting say allowing businesses the option to have more than one flag is more of a matter of aesthetics. They say if every lot is allowed to display three flag poles with several flags and advertisements it may appear as clutter.

They believe keeping the flag poles at one per lot preserves how the community is viewed by outsiders visiting the good life city.

The flag pole issue has been tabled until the next Albany Dougherty Commission meeting.