FAQ: Display of Flags
Following complaints about the display of pride flags in Hillsborough, the town may no longer place single-pole flags on utility poles owned by Duke Energy. Below are answers to some of the common questions that town officials and staff have received. Click on a question to view the answer.
Duke Energy no longer permits single-pole flags on its utility poles. The town was notified of the power company’s intention to enforce its policy following complaints the company received about pride flags that the town displayed in June 2021 for Pride Month.
We cannot speak to the decisions of other communities or to Duke Energy’s enforcement of its policies.
The town installs displays for Pride Month and the following holidays: Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day.
A company in the Triangle region was used. The town first sought to work with a Hillsborough company used in the past for the town’s welcome banners; however, that company did not have the type of material needed for use in the town’s historic district.
The flag banners were designed to have the American flag’s union always displayed on the observer’s left. This corresponds with a section of the U.S. Flag Code and with a design provided by the local printing company. The final design was reviewed by the U.S. Protocol Office, which saw no issues. Because the banner includes an image of the flag rather than being a flag, much of the guidance in the Flag Code does not apply.
Fewer locations were approved by Duke Energy for the display of banners. Also, to meet spacing requirements imposed by Duke Energy and the North Carolina Department of Transportation, some banners are being placed on the back side of power poles over sidewalks to provide adequate clearance on the roadway side.
Possible locations for banners in commercial areas outside of the downtown will be explored at a later time as power poles in some areas are located farther from the roadway and likely will require larger banners and hardware for an appropriate scale.