Dealership’s flag can fly little longer


Towbin Automotive Group lost its battle, but, for at least a little longer, its huge American flag still flies.

The Sahara Avenue automotive dealership has until Aug. 4 to remove the offending 109-foot flagpole, which hoists a 30-by-60-foot U.S. flag, and replace it with a flagpole that complies with city code, a city spokeswoman said Thursday.

Las Vegas code states flagpoles must be 40 feet or lower unless granted permission by the City Council.

On Wednesday, the Nevada Supreme Court dismissed the dealership’s appeal, first made in 2007 after complaints from residents about the flag’s noise.

Although the council initially had granted permission for the flagpole, it overturned that decision after the complaints.

Some council members considered the flag more of a marketing gimmick than a patriotic statement.

The council’s decision was upheld by District Court in 2008, but the dealership appealed. Whether the decision will be appealed to federal court is unclear.

Dan Towbin, owner of several dealerships in Las Vegas, died in June before the case went to the state’s high court.

A statement from Towbin’s wife, Carolynn Towbin, chairwoman of the Towbin Automotive Group, said, "We have consulted our legal advisers and are waiting to read the opinion before we make an official statement.

"However, we are disappointed in the ruling. The flag is a symbol of our patriotism and nothing more."

Attorney David Chesnoff, who represented the dealership, said he was "genuinely sad" about the court’s decisions.

"He was a true patriot," Chesnoff said. "He felt very strongly about his right to fly the flag."

No decision has been made yet about an appeal, he said.

"All I can say is I’m studying the decision," he said.

Review-Journal writer Lynnette Curtis contributed to this report. Contact reporter Mike Blasky at or 702-383-0283.

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