City Council to look at flag rules on June 28

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The City Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on Monday, June 28, to change the Zoning Code rules for flags and flagpoles where you live. A legal notice announcing the hearing recently appeared in the Sun.

The Planning Commission on June 7 unanimously recommended that the council change the text of the Zoning Code that regulates flags. The proposed zoning text amendment would allow two flag poles on a residential property. Flags would be allowed to cover a maximum of 40 square feet. The flag poles could not be more than 25 feet high to be consistent with residential height limits.

As reported on page 5 of the June 10 Sun, the Planning Commission vote was unanimous.

Right now, the Seal Beach Municipal Code limits residential properties to one pole, with one flag, and limits the size of the flags to “12 square feet in area, per frontage,” according to a staff report by Acting Senior Planner Barry Curtis and Community Development Director Les Johnson.

Seal Beach officials recently received a complaint about two flags on one poll. (In Seal Beach, code enforcement is complaint-driven and generally requires only one complaint.) According to social media posts, and comments made at the Planning Commission meeting, a complaint from a resident triggered enforcement action against an individual who had both a U.S. Flag and a military service flag on his poll.

Acting Senior Planner Curtis told the Planning Commission that many Seal Beach residents consider the rules too restrictive.

“As a result, community interest has been raised regarding this issue, with staff receiving a number of calls requesting the City reconsider the existing standards,” wrote Curtis and Johnson.

Under the current Zoning Code, “flags may not include commercial copy. Note: a standard sized 3-foot x 5-foot American flag is technically not permitted on a residential property in Seal Beach,” according to the Curtis and Johnson report.

Curtis told the Planning Commission that there was no consensus about flags in Orange County cities.

“The number of flags would no longer be regulated, but staff is recommending a maximum area of 40 square feet for all flags on a residential property,” according to the report.