By Todd Starnes

The owner of a diner in Middle Township, New Jersey was forced to remove patriotic banners hanging over his parking lot after local authorities said the banners violated a township ordinance.

Linda Chambers, the manager of the Four Seasons Diner, said the township's code officer ordered them to remove a string of red, white and blue pennants that were originally hung over the parking lot for the Fourth of July.

"He said the banners had to come down and then he left," Chambers told Fox News Radio. "The next day he came back and said, 'I told you I want them down and I want them down now.'"

Chambers said the owner of the diner removed the pennants and replaced them with American flags. But the code officer returned and demanded the flags be taken down, too.

Township Administrator Mark Mallett told Fox News Radio that the issue was not about the American flags - it's about an ordinance banning pennants or banners.

"You're allowed to have American flags," he said. "But banners and pennants with the American flag image are not considered an American flag."

Mallet said the issue is not about patriotism - it's about following the rules.

"If this gentleman would like to put American flags on his building, that's fine," he said. "The issue is the pennants. This is something the code enforcement officer has been talking with the owner about for weeks."

The Four Seasons Diner is owned by George Fotakis. He immigrated to the United States from Greece in 1967 and later became an American citizen.

"He loves this country and the flag," she said, noting that even the diner's sign is red, white and blue.

Chambers said local diners are furious - and on Friday a number of residents protested along Route 9 waving American flags and holding signs reading, "Save our Flag."

"It's not right," she said. "The customers were really upset. And the veterans who came in said they didn't like it much either."

"My dad was in the Navy and he got shot twice for the country," she said. "I mean, it's not right."

The mayor told the newspaper they are a business friendly town and would never try to hurt a business.

"But we try to have some uniformity so it aesthetically pleasing," she told the Press of Atlantic City. "I have to believe that was the intent of the ordinance."

And while the township backs their code officer, Chambers said she is still upset.

"I've lived here 30 something years and trust me -- right now I'm not proud to live in Cape May County," Chambers said. "I'd rather be in Philadelphia - and that's pretty bad."

"You're allowed to have American flags," he said. "But banners and pennants with the American flag image are not considered an American flag."

Had the owner not removed the pennants, he would have been issued a court summons and would have faced hundreds of dollars in fines.

Todd Starnes is a Fox News Radio reporter. Follow him on twitter @toddstarnes