Statesville leaders propose amendment to allow Gander RV flag to stay

An amendment has been proposed that would allow a massive American flag to continue flying over the city of Statesville. 

The flag, which measures 40 feet by 80 feet, is flying high over Gander RV off of I-77. The size of the flag is the problem-- it goes against a city ordinance that limits flags to 25 feet by 40 feet.

The city decided to sue the company after they refused to take it down, and have also been fining them $50 per day for keeping it up, dating back to October 2018. Now, city leaders appear to be looking for a more amicable solution following controversy and backlash on social media over their actions. 

On Wednesday, May 29, Mayor Costi Kutteh asked the Statesville Planning Department to draft an amendment to the city ordinance that would allow different regulations for the size of flags displayed in a highway business zone. If passed, it would allow the flag to keep flying at its current size. 

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“In speaking with city council members, I believe this is the direction the majority of council would like to go at this time. Some terrible things have been said about our wonderful town and it hasn’t come from our citizens, but people from all over the country have jumped on this issue and called us names I can’t repeat. When our community’s efforts to conduct business in an orderly, lawful manner begins to hurt our businesses, then it’s time to put a stop to it," Kutteh said. 

Statesville city manager Ron Smith says repeated efforts to speak with the CEO of Camping World-- who owns Gander RV-- Marcus Lemonis to resolve the issue have been unsuccessful. He added that they "are aware of his announced visit to Statesville on Thursday, but he has not contacted anyone in the City about a meeting."

“We had hoped Mr. Lemonis would make the request (to amend the ordinance) himself, but he has made no attempt to contact the City,” said Kutteh.