SUFFOLK - Government flags are about the only things exempt from a Suffolk city ban on flags, banners, streamers and ribbons.
To Steve Orr, the owner of Carpet Connection off Godwin Boulevard, his promotional flags mean a lot to his business. He's been fighting with the city over what he perceives to be selective enforcement of its ordinance.
"Why come to me and say mine has to come down but the big boys at Hilton Garden Inn don't have to take theirs down," says a frustrated Orr.
The ordinance allows business owners to fly flags or banners three times a year for 21 days each. The 21-day permit costs $100.
Orr says there are numerous businesses without permits that are flying flags in violation of the ordinance., so he wonders why he keeps getting a warning to take his flags down.
"If we have to pay, everybody should pay," says Orr.
Bbusinessman and city councilman Mike Duman says the real problem is the ordinance, which he believes needs to be better defined and streamlined.
"Almost anything that you put out in the way of a temporary sign, even if it's a small two-by-two sign stuck in the ground, or a banner that you put outside of your business, all of these are in violation," explains Duman, who even had to remove a banner from his car dealership.
He says that City Council is ready to revisit the ordinance to make it more business friendly.
"I believe that we may be moving toward -- is to have banners specifically. Banners seem to be the point of contention with most property owners, businesses where they want to put out a temporary banner, maybe with special hours of the promotion they're running and we're kind of leaning towards that," he relates.
Duman does not believe the two inspectors the city has are targeting any one business in particular. He says, on any given day, there are violators all over the city and if you're the one business that gets a warning, you feel singled out.
City Council is planning a retreat in September to address the issue, but changes could come sooner.