In Depth Analysis: CalculatedRisk Newsletter on Real Estate (Ad Free) Read it here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Hanging Out Revolution

by Tanta on 9/18/2007 12:13:00 PM

We take a brief break from the failure to air the financial sector dirty laundry in order to report on one of my favorite bits of Total Insanity. Thanks, Yves, for the link. The WSJ reporteth:

BEND, Ore. -- It was a sunny, 70-degree day here in Awbrey Butte, an exclusive neighborhood of big, modern houses surrounded by native pines.

To Susan Taylor, it was a perfect time to hang her laundry out to dry. The 55-year-old mother and part-time nurse strung a clothesline to a tree in her backyard, pinned up some freshly washed flannel sheets -- and, with that, became a renegade.

The regulations of the subdivision in which Ms. Taylor lives effectively prohibit outdoor clotheslines. In a move that has torn apart this otherwise tranquil community, the development's managers have threatened legal action. To the developer and many residents, clotheslines evoke the urban blight they sought to avoid by settling in the Oregon mountains.

"This bombards the senses," interior designer Joan Grundeman says of her neighbor's clothesline. "It can't possibly increase property values and make people think this is a nice neighborhood." . . .

Brooks Resources repeated its threat of legal action, and then advised Ms. Taylor to "develop a plan to screen your outdoor laundry and submit the plan to the ARC for review." It also suggested the possibility of formal proceedings to get the rules amended, which would require 51% of homeowners' support in writing.

The following month, Ms. Taylor constructed a fabric screen to conceal her clothesline. The committee, which included Brooks Resources Chairman Michael P. Hollern, gave it a thumbs down. "It doesn't blend with the home or the native surroundings," says Ms. Haworth.

Mr. Hollern says, "Personally, I think people probably ought to screen their laundry from other people's view. If you feel differently, you should probably be living somewhere else."

Many neighbors agree. When Ms. Grundeman first noticed the Taylor clothesline, she assumed it was temporary. "My first thought was, 'Oh gosh, her dryer must have broken,' " says the interior designer.
In the 70s, we burnt our bras to teach you pigs a lesson. Thirty years later, we're hanging them out right in front of you! It's Laundry Liberation Front in the burbs. Out of the way, Stepford Wives! And take your "property values" with you when you go!