Grove man claims city wants flags taken down

Posted at 9:23 PM, Jun 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-15 15:36:15-04

GROVE -- A Grove man claims the city is attempting to take away his rights as an American by telling him to remove his flags from his business sign. The city tells 2 Works for You that all business owners need to comply with the city's sign ordinances and the allegation that the city charges people to display the American flag is ridiculous. 

Patriotic is one word to describe the city of Grove. 

“As my rights, I have a right to hang a flag," Motomouth Garage Owner Chad Bibler said. 

There is a flag every 20 feet along Main Street. 

“I have the right to put up what flag I want to support," Bibler said.

They're also in front of most businesses like Motomouth Garage. 

“They want me to pay a $50 fee to hang flags," Bibler said.

The mechanic tells 2 Works for You he he was approached by the city code enforcement officer last Friday about his display of flags.

“He told me I had to pull a permit to have a billboard in the City of Grove," Bibler said. "Well then he said you have to take your flags down immediately.”

Bibler claims the city told him his flags couldn't stay until he has a permit. There are two medical marijuana flags as well as multiple American flags above his spray painted business sign. 

He says the permanent sign will be completed in a few days.

“I do not have a sign permit because to me the definition of sign and flag are two different meanings," he said.

Bibler says he's working to get his business license, which he says the city has to sign off on. 

“If they choose not to give me a business permit license or a sign permit license, I guess I’ll have to see them in court," he said. 

The city sent 2 Works for You a statement: 

"Streets throughout the City of Grove are proudly lined with American flags.  Everyone is encouraged to display the American flag in Grove Oklahoma. The allegation that the City of Grove charges people to display the American flag is simply ridiculous and untrue. The gentleman in question was informed that he would need to pay a $50 business license to open his business within the city limits. He was also told that he would need to comply with the city’s sign ordinances if he wanted to display a new business sign. New business signs are subject to a $50 application fee and subject to approval.These requirements are commonplace among Oklahoma cities. The American flag was never discussed and city staff are completely surprised by this accusation."

“Freedom of speech, freedom to stand up for what you believe in," Bibler said. 

Bibler says he'll continue to fly his flags proudly. He plans to pay the $50 application fee for his business sign after it's complete.

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