North Eau Claire Area Flag Pole Dispute Back Before County Officials

A state appeals court has revived a western Wisconsin businessman's fight to fly a large American flag to show his support for the war on terror.

At issue is whether Malcolm Incorporated can keep its 132-foot flag pole outside a building that it owns north of Eau Claire or whether it must lower the pole 14 feet to comply with some airport zoning regulations.

Court records say the company sought a variance for the higher height, arguing that construction of a new overpass by the state made it too difficult for motorists traveling Highway 53 to see the flag.

The Eau Claire County Board of Land Use Appeals denied the variance in March 2004, and Eau Claire County Circuit Judge Lisa Stark upheld that decision.

In overturning the judge, the 3rd District Court of Appeals sent the dispute back to the county board, instructing it to determine whether an "unnecessary hardship" exists that justifies a variance.

It's a new standard established by a 2004 state Supreme Court decision.