Aug 2, 2007
LAS VEGAS (AP) - An auto dealer vowed Thursday to fight a city order to take down the 109-foot pole from which he flies an American flag about the size of a competition volleyball court.
The City Council voted Wednesday to order the Towbin Hummer dealership to take down the flag after officials said the pole was too high and neighbors complained the flag flapped too loudly.
"The American flag stays," dealership owner Dan Towbin declared. "I'm not convinced that people are complaining because of noise. This is about vindictiveness and power."
Towbin says the 30-foot-by-60-foot flag fits with his oversized dealership selling oversized cars, but rejects opponents' claims that it's an advertising tool.
"All I can tell you is we never sold a vehicle based on a flag," he said.
The council action followed a similar decision in May. Towbin sued the city, and a state judge last month sent the issue back to the council, ruling that he should have been allowed to have an attorney represent him before the body.
Towbin's lawyer, David Chesnoff, said Thursday that case remains pending.
"We're going to do whatever we can to keep the American flag flying," he said.
City regulations limit poles to 40 feet, but the council grants case-by-case exceptions.
Towbin got permission for a 100-foot pole in 2006, and the city has approved eight other flagpoles of that height or higher. Assistant City Attorney Bill Henry, however, said Towbin acknowledged last year that the council could revisit the decision if it bothered neighbors.
"We think it's arbitrary that they decide who gets it and who doesn't," Towbin said Thursday, adding that noise meters he put at a neighboring house didn't support complaints about loud flapping.
"If I was convinced I was truly disturbing people, I would have taken it down a long time ago," he said.