Go ahead and fly that flag as high as you like, the Omaha Planning Board told self-storage business owner Dave Paladino on Wednesday.

Paladino wants to erect a 125-foot-high pole — about 12 stories tall — above his Dino’s Storage location at 20800 West Dodge Road. City zoning regulations allow only a 75-foot pole. He asked for a permit allowing the taller one.

Paladino said he wants to express his own patriotism and bring Americans together by flying the Stars and Stripes high atop an Elkhorn hill, a place of prominence on the west end of Omaha. Also, he plans to fly an N on Nebraska football game days.

He promised no business advertising on the pole.

“We just want to send a statement that we just need to be more patriotic,” said Paladino, who also puts Bible verses on message boards at his storage businesses. “I wish Americans loved America as much as other countries love America.”

He said it would cost about $50,000 to put up the pole. He’d like to fly a 30-by-40-foot flag, or maybe a 20-by-30-foot one.

Patriotism aside, the Planning Department recommended denial because of zoning regulations. Paladino expected his request to allow the big flagpole to be rejected.

But the board surprised him. Board member Trenton Magid moved to approve it. Every once in a while, we need a 125-foot flagpole, he said. The board then voted 7-0 to recommend that the City Council approve Paladino’s request.

“I was surprised — especially unanimous,” Paladino said.

“I thought maybe we’d get one or two votes,” said Jena Bailey, president of the company, who came up with the flag idea.

If the City Council approves, Paladino will begin building the pole the next day, he said. The star-spangled banner and a big, red N could be soaring high above the Elkhorn River Valley by the Huskers’ season opener this fall.

“I’m just as excited about the Husker flag,” Paladino said

Chris Burbach covers the Douglas County Board, Planning Board and other local government bodies, as well as local neighborhood issues. Follow him on Twitter @chrisburbach. Phone: 402-444-1057.

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