Residents in Murray furious after HOA fines homeowner for flying American Flag

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MURRAY, Utah --  Homeowners in Murray say they are being fined by their home owner's association for flying the American Flag.

Chestnut Place is a condominium community consisting of about 60 homeowners. Up until last week, those living in the community say they were free to fly their flags without regulation or restriction, but recently that changed.

"After the last board meeting, we were leaving and two members of the board and a resident said they were tired of looking at the flag," said Jo Ann Dugay, who is one of the five board members on the Home Owners Association. "They said 'is this flag row?' And that something needed to be done about it.”

Something was: last week those living in the community were warned to take down the flags.

"I'm not taking it down, that's one thing I won't do." said Erin Worthen, one of the residents asked to remove it.

As a result, she was fined $75 and given a notice, which states:

"All exterior decorations must be removed within 10 days following the holiday... Please remove your flag from the common area (Utah Community Association Act. 57-8a-219)"

Worthen said she was shocked at the language on the notice.

"That is not a holiday decoration," she points out. "People have died for that, it is not a holiday decoration."

The President of the Home Owners Association was steadfast in her decision to enforce the fine Thursday. She said she was tired of seeing flags, not just the American flag, flying up and down the street all day and night, and 365 days of the year.

"Flags are flown on holiday events," said Lyn Steinbergen, President of the HOA. "All we are trying to do is regulate when the flag goes up, and when it comes down.”

Homeowners were hoping to address the stipulations at an HOA meeting scheduled for Thursday night, but with the room already full, and the meeting set to take place, board members canceled at the last second.

"The board wasn't here tonight," said a lawyer for the HOA. He says one board member was missing and that's why they canceled the meeting.

But home owners felt the HOA was simply skirting the issue.

"I have a legal right to fly my American Flag, and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it,” yelled a frustrated Worthen.

She said she was fined for the flag as well, and had scheduled to talk about it on the meeting agenda. She believes the board is simply trying to avoid addressing the situation, and believes the HOA President is mostly to blame.

"Because she is not getting her way, she's going to shut it down," Worthen said.

Other homeowners at Thursday night's meeting asked for a special meeting to be held at a later date. They are looking for the opportunity to vote off members of the board.


  • orochi235

    My god, people. It’s a piece of cloth. On a stick. Of course it has some symbolic meaning, but you don’t have a constitutional right to fly it on your property. (I really wish people would stop misusing that term.) Especially if you bought property governed by a homeowner’s association.

    It’s really tacky. We get it, you love your country. It’s my country, too, and I’ll bet I love it just as much as you do. But I don’t need to put trashy public decorations up year-round to demonstrate to everyone that walks by that A True Patriot Lives Here. Your lawn doesn’t need to be a shrine to your various beliefs or hobbies. And if you really feel otherwise, there are much more tasteful and less visually obtrusive decorations that could convey that just as well.

    • Calia

      So, let me see if I got this right. You are perfectly fine with being told what you can do, when you can do it and how long you can do it? You are perfectly fine with being told what is ok, what is not ok – by other people who have an opinion about what they deem right, wrong, necessary, unnecessary, tacky, or acceptable and their opinion matters more than your opinion? The flag is visibly obtrusive? Trashy? Homes should not reflect the hobbies or beliefs of the homeowner?

      What you want is communism. You want to live under dictatorial rule about what clothing you may wear, when you can wear it. When you can eat, sleep, and what you may think or say. Think about it.

      I think I’ll heed the advice of Mark Twain on this one.
      “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”


      Real Americans understand that our flag is a symbol of our country. Of course if you’re one of those folks on welfare who ain’t had no learnin’ ……

    • Art Brannen

      it is federal law saying a HOA or other organization can NOT tell the home or condo owner to remove the US Flag
      H.R. 42
      if the HOA doesn’t like it and continues to push the issue they can be sued for all fines, legal fees and more

      which if I were the person being told to take it down, I would already have the paperwork filed

    • nunnyah biz

      And I suppose all of those ” less visually obtrusive decorations” would have to be approved by you too!
      It’s MY PROPERTY! If you don’t like to look at it, turn the other cheek and keep moving! You’re not welcome here anyway!!!

    • Jim

      You are not a proud American if you talk about the flag like that or you are just extremely uneducated. That flag represents something a lot of the word want. True freedom. Why don’t you get a passport and go travel.

    • Tom

      Au contraire. The “Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005” makes it illegal for an HOA to restrict owners from displaying a U.S. flag. They can put on reasonable restrictions such as size of pole or flag, but they can’t stop you from flying it at all.

  • Anne

    Anyone who wNts to fly their flag should be able to that is showing pride and redpect. The hoa should relearn their history!!!!!!!! Let your flag fly proud🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

  • Dan M

    I have seen incredible, idiotic, and even catastrophic demonstrations of many what, why, when and all that…
    To NOT be able to fly the flag at ANY time, and perhaps in any place..(??? this is where I must resist temptation)… But there had been too many opportunities the people and the PRESS quick to follow, have found things to stir up … The ??? (and they do it well)

    But to that point… since the flag was being flown in an area that was not considered the place this person was leasing/renting/owning… it is not their place to decide what can be flown there… Shall I remind us of the bruhaha about the flag of the confederacy we went through in a period of time I am even able to remember being flown in a place that most would be considered as much a “public” place as this park is/was/might be…?

    Fly the flag on your home, there are many of our neighbors here that do as such… they make sure the flag is LIT (lighted) and visible through the night, and all of the neighbors are happy to see this happen. I am proud to see them display the flag 24/7… if we had the discipline and ease of effort to display the flag 24/7, I am certain we “might”.. :-)

    I know as I drive around each day, I see the AMERICAN Flag being displayed in many places (typically, municipal, city, county, state or federal establishments… even the Library (wherever that may fall)

    As I consider what I might say next, I can only think of how Francis must have felt that night when he told the story we still sing today.

    PS… it is not JUST a piece of cloth on a stick… as is a tattoo for so many of the sons and daughters of the hippies of my gen seem to think are cool… A flag is a sign, a belief, a trust, a desire, a hope, and so much more than even all the handfuls of words of the people that believe in it and all the things it represents… (even those that might cast disparaging words against it from time to time and even take the time to set fire to it) It is the “clothes” that this country wear across this HUGE country to show its pride.

    Again I agree, it is perhaps not proper to simply pop a flag up in a “common” area (AS LONG AS THE COMMON AREA DOES NOT INCLUDE THE OUTSIDE OF THE PREMISE THE PERSON LIVES IN – Rental, owned, leased, what the ____ it is) Thing is… Most of those “common” places around this city already have flags flying with pride almost every time I turn a corner….

    If you dislike the display of patriotism…. sheesh, I could say a lot of nasty things, but, this is AMERICA and you are entitled to say what you wish, but, you are also obliged to let others say what they wish to say! <== It is wonderful :-)


    Thank goodness the president of the HOA hoisted the white flag and resigned. Guess she didn’t expect the heat that came when this story went national.

    • nunnyah biz

      Time to get a petition going and have her kicked out of the condo association……………….tar & feathers anyone???

  • nunnyah biz

    Why don’t you tyrants just “come on down” and try to take my Flag, and get that $75, and we’ll see how that works out for ya!!!

    Lead poisoning is a sure cure for tyranny…………………………works EVERY TIME!!!

  • formerutahresident

    I used to live there, and I have to say- she dictated EVERYTHING we did. She took the president role WAY too far. The people that live there are audults. Not children that need to be told what to do. Mostly the people living there are retired residents. The last thing they need is someone freaking out about their grandson’s car parked in front of their own home for too long or God forbid- flying a flag above their garage out of respect for a family member who died protecting that flag in World War II. Just so you are all aware- our HOA rules and regulations stated on page 4 that flags could be flown on our homes- just not the fence.

  • Jim

    It’s not a just cloth on a stick don’t type that garbage and tell us you love your country because you don’t. There is a federal law passed in 2005 allowing us to fly that you are a disgrace

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