Bellerose man ordered to take American flags down or face fines
A Bellerose man says he has been threatened with a fine for flying a pair of American flags on his property.
Vinny Vaccaro says he put up the flags on the trees in front of his home four years ago in a show of appreciation for the nation's veterans.
Last month, local officials sent him a notice stating it was a violation of village code and ordered him to take the flags down or face fines from $50 to $250.
Bellerose Mayor Henry Schreiber says the code does not have anything to do with patriotism, but rather the concern for the preservations of trees in the century-old village.
According to Schreiber, the code was established 25 years ago to protect trees from mutilation. He says the code prohibits anything from being attached to trees within the village's jurisdiction such as flags, basketball hoops, swings and flower pots. He calls it a liability issue for the village, especially if any of those attachments fall and cause injury or property damage.
Vaccaro removed the flags, but also put up a protest sign on his front lawn. He says he may run for a seat on the village board next year in a bid to revise the codes.