#1 By: Cory Doctorow, August 15th, 2013 18:05
#2 By: gilbert wham, August 15th, 2013 18:15
In addition to the argument that hanging underpants outdoors is unsightly and lowers property values, which seems like a reasonable argument
#3 By: seyo, August 15th, 2013 18:15
What if you didn't use a clothesline, but a clothes drying rack, made of thin wood dowels, or painted/plastic coated metal? That would circumvent the strangulation argument at least.
#4 By: zieroh, August 15th, 2013 18:48
I'm a bit mystified why people buy a house with an HOA attached in the first place, essentially trading their property rights for some intangible improvement to property value.
#5 By: Nell_Anvoid, August 15th, 2013 18:56
Solar power. What's not to like?
#6 By: Feenicks, August 15th, 2013 19:04
This is even a thing? Really?
How else are people expected to dry their clothes? Is an electric clothes dryer mandatory in this situation? That's crazy.
A dryer is a sometimes appliance as far as I'm concerned.
What I don't get is who stands to gain by lobbying on this. I can vaguely 'get' the motivation for the aesthetic side...
But lobbyists don't lobby on property owners aesthetics. Who makes money off people not being able to sun dry? Are electricity and appliance companies that hard up for extra income?
#7 By: Brian Sizemore, August 15th, 2013 19:05
Probably because a lot of people don't have the monetary resources to purchase land and build their own house. I live in NC and most new construction is in neighborhoods. That's not to say there aren't plenty of older houses for sale not in HOA areas, but if you want new then odds are you'll be in a HOA.
#8 By: Michael Smith, August 15th, 2013 19:08
I can recall one case in Australia where parents had bought a trampoline for their child but made the child wear a bike helmet as a precaution. The child jumped off the trampoline into the clothesline and died when the helmet got caught.
OTH I wonder how many power stations could be closed if most US homes had clothes lines. I am not aware of any other country where people are required to dry their clothes indoors.
#9 By: Maggie Koerth-Baker, August 15th, 2013 19:09
I suspect there's a lot of overlap between people who don't understand the desire to live in an HOA neighborhood and people who don't understand the desire to buy a brand-new home.
Though, I would add, that there's some stuff here that doesn't have to do with what you want, actually, but what you can afford. In a lot of American cities, it's now much cheaper to buy a house in the suburbs (with an HOA, natch) than to buy the same-sized house in an older, non-HOA neighborhood in town. I suspect that's how a lot of people get caught up in these things.
As for where the lobbyists come from: Some HOAs hire their own.
#10 By: Matt_Hicks, August 15th, 2013 19:20
North Carolina's solar exemption is untested for clothesline drying, afaik, and the result of such a court case seems far from 'guaranteed' here.
#11 By: Donald Petersen, August 15th, 2013 19:30
I'm the type of person who might understand the urge to buy a new home if it were well-built, attractive, and didn't so closely resemble all its neighbors. My sister bought her first new house in Temecula, CA, about 15 years ago when it first started "enjoying" a real estate boom. It was close enough to San Diego and Orange Counties to serve as a bedroom community, while being inland enough to be cheap. Her 2,500 square foot house cost something like $115,000 back then.
But, to a certain extent, you kinda get what you pay for when "the lowest bidder" keeps popping up. The kitchen overhead light fixtures throughout the neighborhood kept crapping out, slabs would crack, bath fixtures would fail. But that's not what bugged me. I simply couldn't understand the allure of living in a neighborhood where every aesthetic is required to meet a certain very narrow consensus. My wife agrees: everytime we'd drive down to visit, as soon as we came in sight of the development she'd sing Malvina Reynolds' "Little Boxes" with a minor lyric change:
Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky-tacky, little boxes on the hillside, little boxes all the same. There's a beige one, and a beige one, and a beige one, and another beige one...
Whoever wrote the "Arcadia" episode of The X-Files knows whereof I speak, and it's no huge coincidence that it was set in a planned bedroom community outside San Diego. It could have been shot on my sister's cul-de-sac.
Yesterday there was some discussion of HOAs on Airtalk on NPR, and I was surprised to hear how many callers approved of living in such a place. Yeesh. I could not possibly care less how many broken-down cars my neighbors have in their yards, nor what color they paint their houses, nor how long their grass gets. If someone is a genuine nuisance, I'll talk to them. If that doesn't work, I'll summon the local authorities. But bitching about clotheslines and purple paintjobs and vegetable gardens in the front yard? Puh-leeze. People oughta stop resenting their neighbor's comfort and happiness and start cultivating their own.
Gol-danged control freaks.
#12 By: Boundegar, August 15th, 2013 19:45
Do you have any idea how many children are killed every year by clotheslines? All of them!
#13 By: Tim, August 15th, 2013 19:52
EDIT: for clarification, this was a joke. I don't have any real evidence that dryer manufacterers are paying off politicians to make clotheslines illegal, but who knows what that hapless repairman might resort to after so many lonely years of solitude…
#14 By: Robert Forbes, August 15th, 2013 20:12
I have a feeling that "unsightly" in this case means "something poor people have."
#15 By: Jeff Atwood, August 15th, 2013 20:18
It's weird how stories like this get to me now that I have kids. I just imagine coming home to find your child hanging dead on the clothesline, wearing the helmet you told them to wear, and what that would feel like.
#16 By: Jen Onymous, August 15th, 2013 20:19
Urk, HOA rules/local ordinances like this drive me insane, and I've had two friends in two different states be on the losing sides of them. In both cases the anti-clothesline thing was never enforced until a conflict came up with a neighbor who decided to pick a fight/be an asshole.
Story #1: Friend is full-time, multigenerational resident of a rapidly-gentrifying "weekenders only" coastal town. She has one of those 4-sided clothes dryer things and uses it. She also has a small kid. Neighbor's house gets sold to obnoxious weekenders, whose first move is to have massive amounts of brush and trees cleared from their property..and dumped on my friend's. When politely asking them to get truckloads of crap-literally--off the property are ignored, Friend called not the township but the local sanitation department for a pickup; when they tried to tell her that SHE had illegally dumped the stuff, she pointed out Neighbor. Neighbor then decided that Friend's 7-year old would choke to death on a 7' tall drying line in the middle of the backyard.
Story #2--Also sparked by a feud between neighbors; Friend #2's Mom was always Eco and Green way before it was fashionable. When she took in a tenant on a property adjacent to her own, a neighbor took umbrage but couldn't stop the tenancy. So they complained about the clothesline instead, claiming that it was a hazard to their CAT.
#17 By: Jen Onymous, August 15th, 2013 20:21
Horrible, I would imagine, but using the absolute most freak-show instances of things to make normative law helps nobody and prevents nothing.
#18 By: Víctor, August 15th, 2013 20:23
Or even better, ban heads!
No head, no strangulation risk.
#19 By: J_Kent_Hastings, August 15th, 2013 20:30
Insulated wire "for drying clothes" is just another way terrorists can sneak a stealthy antenna under the nose of the NSA. (I'm a ham op).
#20 By: Maggie Koerth-Baker, August 15th, 2013 20:31
Please note that I said, "Some". This photo doesn't surprise me, either.
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