Statesville neighbors demonstrate, discuss City Council's decision on Gander RV flag

Some Statesville neighbors attended a City Council meeting Monday evening to protest the decision made on a size ordinance last month.

Veterans and members of the American Legion demonstrated outside of City Hall, holding and waving flags before the meeting started.

The demonstration is in response to after the City Council voted down a proposed compromise with Gander RV to allow their flag to continue flying.

"I think the city needs to allow what we have," said Donnie Bradley. 

The council heard from the public tonight, but so far haven't taken any additional action to address the flag controversy with Gander RV. Four people spoke during public comment about the issue.

LINK: In 5-3 vote, Statesville Council votes-down change to allow large Gander RV flag

Earlier in June, C.O. Johnson, John Staford and Steve Johnson voted in favor of increasing the allowed flag size. William Morgan, Roy West, Doris Allison, Keith Williams and Michael Johnson voted against the change meaning the current flag at Gander RV is still out of compliance.

"It doesn't matter if it's on the street corner, or at somebody's house. It doesn't matter the size," Michael Morris said.

Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis, who owns the Gander RV, has been adamant that the flag will remain flying at their Statesville location.

"The flag is not coming down under any circumstance," says Lemonis. He says he's prepared for any consequences that should arise if he is ordered by a court to take the flag down, including jail time.

A city ordinance states that flags should be no larger than 25 feet by 40 feet. The one at Gander RV measures 40 feet by 80 feet. 

The city says the central issue isn't the flag itself, but it's size, which is larger than what the city allows for any flag of any type. The issue has been hotly debated since the company began to be fined by the city back in October 2018-- $50 per day that it remained flying. 

"When it comes to a national chaos to make this city look really bad, it's up to them to bend over backwards unless it's a safety issue.  They haven't done that," said Bradley. 

There's been talk from some of the demonstrators about supporting city council candidates that are in support of the flag, so this could become an election issue in the coming months.

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