The open flag loophole
To the Editor:
At the Selectboard's "Land Use & Development Ordinance" hearing, there was a lot of talk about OPEN flags and not much good was said about them either. The big question is whether or not the board will approve the proposal that half of the Planning Commission oppose, but brought before them anyway. It says that if your business can be seen from the street, sorry, you can't have an OPEN flag. But if you're open just 6 hours a day, BINGO! you're good. Plenty of businesses on Main Street like Up For Breakfast and Manchester Country Store could fly an OPEN flag under this 6-hour rule while others doing the "9 to 5" down on Elm Street or way up on Bonnet Street can't. Zoey's can have an OPEN flag but neighboring Manchester Hot Glass can't. Ye Olde Tavern can have one but Gringo Jack's can't. And on and on. (Boy, this sounds like an enforcement nightmare!)
I wonder if OPEN flags really offer more visibility than OPEN signs or U.S. Flags, and is it enough of a difference to pit one business against another? In my mind, banning OPEN flags on one page of the ordinance but passing this stupid loophole weakens the entire ordinance itself by suggesting that everything in it is negotiable.
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