SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) — A flagpole flying a Confederate flag along Interstate 85 in Spartanburg County will stay up.
On Tuesday, the county’s Board of Zoning Appeals ruled in favor of the property owners and said that county staff made an error when they issued a violation notice to the property owners last year.
“We listened and listened,” said zoning appeals board member Tom Davies. “And we asked questions, which we do.”
The board heard from attorneys Tuesday representing the property owners.
In the fall, county planning staff told the landowners that the flagpole was too tall and violated county guidelines. When the group was told to remove the flagpole or file a permit and lower the flagpole, the owners appealed the violation.
“Did staff do the right thing when they went out and said ‘Oh, you can’t have this 100-foot flagpole here’?” said Davies.
Davies said attorneys for the property owners claim that the property owners had asked staff at the county’s codes department if a permit was needed for the flagpole. They said that the property owners were told a permit was not needed.
Davies thinks adding the flagpole to this site changed the property’s use, which he believes violated county ordinances. He voted to uphold staff’s decision, but the board of zoning appeals ruled 5-to-3 in favor of the property owners.
“My opinion is that staff did the right thing. They did their job. My problem with all of this is that we have to be consistent on the board. This could end up being a precedent,” said Davies.
7News reached out to attorneys representing the Sons of Confederate Veterans group, which owns the flagpole site, but did not hear back.
County leaders said they will be discussing the board’s decision with staff to “determine the county’s options moving forward.”