Monday, November 6, 2006
It's a sign of the times that a rare appearance of zoning law in the Associated Press concerns a celebrity. If you follow such things, you've probably already learned that the city of Palm Beach, Fla., has informed Donald Trump that an 80-foot-high flagpole recently erected on his coastal estate is too high, violating the local zoning ordinance. Trump is quoted as saying that his display of an American flag, which sits atop the pole, must be protected by law. A city landmarks official then harmed the government's case by comparing the display of the enormous banner to the look a car dealer in the far-less-chic city of West Palm Beach.
It will be mildly interesting to see whether the combination of Trump's clout and his draping himself with the flag (how about completely wrapping himself in the colossal banner?) will enable the flagpole to withstand what should be an open-and-shut matter of government regulation of the display and manner of speech. This is, after all, a state in which one of two substantive things that a homeowner's association CANNOT impose upon residents, under state law, is an association rule banning a display of the American flag.