It's A Grand , Not So Old, Flag

Robert Peltier says he's flying a giant flag to show his patriotism.

"I was adopted and naturalized at 7 years old, I am from Waterford, Ireland. I truly have an appreciation o have an opportunity to be in this country. You can be anything and do anything you want in this country. And it is so great, to put up a symbol and show this is who we all are,"  says Peltier of Peltier Nissan.

His flag has caught a lot of attention.

"I think it is great and there should be more around," says one passer-by.

And that's just what some people in Tyler are afraid of.

"There are some that just think it looks tacky to put up a flag that large."

Bill Morales, the director of planning for the city, says these 100 foot high flag poles waving 30 by 60 foot flags take away from the esthetic of the town. That's one reason the city ordinance says they shouldn't be more than 35 feet.

"Everyone should express their patriotism. But at the same time, our concern is the flags are so large that it really effects the landscaping of the commercial entry ways into the city."

The board of adjustment bent the rules in these cases for patriotic reasons. But Morales worries if you let one do it, the rest will follow. A Dodge dealership is putting one up, but it says it isn't copying anyone.

"We've actually been working on it for a little over a year, since October of last year, so everyone who drives by can see the flag and feel a sense of pride when they see it," says Jim Yates of Allen Samuel's East Texas Dodge.

And they'll see it. The broad stripes, a little more broad.  The bright stars, a little more bright. If the trend continues, the city could find itself at the center of a controversy that could only be made in America.

The board's decision to relax the ordinance has not set a legal precedent, according to Bill Morales. However, that's an issue that could be challenged in court if another company was denied the right to put up a similar flag.

Michelle Mortensen, reporting.