Man takes on homeowners association
Article Courtesy of The North County Times
Posted Friday, July 26, 2002
Staff Writer 

MURRIETA ---- With the help of a few construction workers, Rick Alkire put up a 25-foot flagpole in his yard Friday and raised the United States flag that was draped over the coffin of his wife's grandfather, who fought and was wounded in World War I. 

It was a moment Alkire had waited more than half a year for after battling with his homeowners' association over the size of the flagpole.  
When he moved into his new hillside home in Olive Hill Ranch nine months ago, Alkire planned to erect a 30-foot pole to fly the heirloom American flag he inherited from his wife's family on special occasions. 

But the Olive Hill Ranch Homeowners' Association, which approves architectural design in the small, gated community, told Alkire in April that his plans for the pole were denied. 

Alkire appealed the decision and submitted plans for a pole five feet shorter than the original 30-footer he had wanted. Backing him up, Alkire says, is a senate bill recently signed by the California's governor. 

Senate Bill 2032, signed into law by Gov. Gray Davis on July 11, prohibits homeowners' associations from imposing restrictions on the display of the United States flag except as required for the protection of public health or safety. But a week ago, Alkire received a letter from the homeowners' association attorney stating that the 25-foot flag pole Alkire wanted to erect would not be allowed. 

Thursday morning, though, Alkire refused to obey the association's orders and raised his flagpole, which he says he has the right to put up on his one-acre estate. 

"It's over now," Alkire said Thursday. "I won the battle." 

Tammy Vardakas, president of the Olive Hill Ranch homeowners association, could not be reached for comment Thursday. Board Vice President Steve Pilling said this week that Alkire's flagpole was not approved because its height. 

"It will hit cars if it falls," Pilling said. 

While Pilling says he personally doesn't object to Alkire's flagpole, the vice president said he doesn't know what other board members may do to enforce the association's regulations. 

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