There’s no greater symbol of freedom than the American flag, which may explain why a family in Bradenton, Florida, is fighting city hall by painting the front of their house to resemble a giant version of Old Glory.
“I want to remind people this is America. This is a free country. This is my home,” Brent Greer told WFLA-TV.
The family’s troubles began back in February when a city code enforcement officer responded to a complaint because a “tacky” dead Christmas tree was still displayed on the front porch of their century-old home.
The officer looked around and then rattled off a long list of “substandard housing conditions” like old paint, rotten wood and electrical wires.
The city outlined the code violations in a two-page, nine-count complaint letter to Greer, in March. It includes violations concerning paint, pressure washing and missing window screens. The complaint also cites loose railings, an accumulation of trash on his property and electrical issues, reports the Bradenton Herald.
“The violations are very typical in the city for an older home,” city code enforcement manager Volker Reiss later told the TV station.
The Greers, who are parents to seven adopted children and two foster kids, say their house has been certified by the state as safe and that the issues cited by the city are purely cosmetic.
“You just threatened my kids, you just threatened my livelihood, I can’t pay a $250 a day fine, I can’t pay a $25 a day fine!” exclaimed Greer.
So he and his wife Kathy decided on a new paint job instead, with plans to add an image of the Liberty Bell on the roof and the Statue of Liberty on the chimney.
“A lot of people gave their lives so that we can live here. Not so you can have some elitist opinion on how my house should look,” he added.
The Greers do not live in a deed-restricted community, but many of the homes nearby are multi-million dollar mansions situated near the Manatee River.
Many neighbors have driven by to look at the house and expressed their approval.
“I think it’s one of the best things in the neighborhood,” gushed Chris Grumley.
Code enforcement also approves of the new paint job but claims other violations remain.
The city plans to inspect the home again on June 16. If it isn’t up to code, the Greers will be scheduled for a hearing the next day, June 17, at city hall.