Editor’s Note: After this story was first published in September, FOX4 received a letter from a lawyer representing the Homeowner’s Association offering their comments on the dispute. This story has been updated to include those comments.
OLATHE, Kan. — An Olathe, Kansas couple’s love of America and the Kansas City Chiefs has them facing unknown fines from their HOA.
They’ve been told they can’t fly either flag in their backyard. Since the flag flap started the Clarks have learned though Chiefs and other flags are banned by the HOA, American flags are not. But the HOA has taken issue with their flag pole threatening fines if any flag is flown.
Since 2018 the Clarks say they’ve raised a Chiefs flag on game days on their backyard patio and proudly flown an American flag the rest of the time.
“Here we are on our beautiful patio and we just wanted to fly the American flag, or the Chiefs flag when the Chiefs are on,” Dianna Clark explained.
But this summer they got a letter from Cedar Creek HOA that the 2 x 2 10 foot tall metal post they are using to fly the flag isn’t approved. It said the flag must be removed immediately.
Page 30 of the HOA manual says only American Flags can be flown, though we saw several other flags supporting teams in the neighborhood.
The letter went on to say they are not allowed to fly any flags off the post in the future or fines will be implemented.
“It could be a $1,000 a day, it could be $1 a day and they wouldn’t tell us in our little 15 minute appeal,” Charlie Clark said.
The HOA didn’t respond to an inquiry by FOX4 about the situation and potential fines.
The Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005 makes it illegal for an HOA to restrict homeowners from displaying a U.S. flag. But since the issue was with the pole, the Clarks went to the American Legion who said in its opinion they could use the pole to fly the American flag.
After putting it up briefly during our interview, the Clarks lowered and folded the American flag as they await the appeal decision without much confidence.
“This is a simple flag, there’s no one around here that’s offended by that flag and it’s in the privacy of our backyard,” Charlie Clark said.
The HOA letter did say the family can keep the pole to string lights across the patio.
FOX4 received a letter from a law firm representing the HOA days after this story aired and was published online pointing out that the homeowners submitted an application focused on the installation of string lights above their deck, not an American flag.
Furthermore, the letter says that attaching a flag to a post with a string of lights wasn’t a proper display of the American flag in the HOA’s view.
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