Sunday, October 18, 2009

Here's a bizarre one from down USA way. It seems that "thousands" of communities in the USA have banned the good old fashioned clothesline. Strange stuff, as in many countries in Europe it is the precise opposite ie excessive use of electricity for driers is prohibited and clotheslines are considered a badge of civic responsibility. Hopefully civilization will eventually arrive in all too many US neighbourhoods. What is the cost of an energy sucking clothes drier nowadays ? I don't know because the old clunker in my basement has been running for well over 20 years. As to "property values" the idea of living in a neighbourhood where snoops have the ability to restrict the way you dry your clothes would drop the value of a house by at least 50% for me. It is doubtful that busybodies would restrict themselves to this one item. Case closed. Here's the story from the Care2 site.
Clotheslines Banned in Thousands of U.S. Communities:
You are officially invited to join the fight to legalize it...again. No, we're not talking about the smokable plant that's gotten so many politicians in hot water. We're talking about the good old fashioned clothes line.
As families all over the nation seek out different ways to reduce their carbon footprint and save money by using less energy, many have decided to return to hanging their clothes outside to dry them. However, many have met with great disappointment when homeowner's associations and community management services have told them the lines are not allowed. reports that, "hanging clotheslines was against the rules in so many communities nationwide that state governments are being forced to step in and make it against the law to ban them. ( I like that idea-a law against passing laws. Too bad it isn't generalized-Molly )And states like Vermont and Utah have already succeeded. But the fight for the right to hang clotheslines is just getting started.
"Using an electric clothes drier can account for up to 10% of a household's total energy use, and the EPA and other environmental organizations concerned with energy conservation and energy efficiency have been telling people to purchase Energy Star appliances for years. While this is a good idea on paper, many people aren't financially able to simply go out and upgrade to a fancy new washer and dryer. However, they are being told they can't have simple outdoor clotheslines, which are much cheaper and carbon neutral.
The reason for this clothesline prejudice, at least according to the ones making the rules, is that hanging clothes is unsightly, offensive, and causes property values to drop.
"It's already hard enough to sell a house in this economy," said Frank Rathbun, a spokesman for the national Community Associations Institute, "And when it comes to clotheslines, it should be up to each community association, not state lawmakers, to set rules, much like it is with rules involving parking, architectural guidelines or pets" (via an interview in the NYTimes).
While hanging clothes all over your trees and bushes might not be the best way to make friends with the neighbors, you can hardly call a few t-shirts and pairs of jeans flapping in the breeze an offensive practice...or can you?
Richard Monson, the president of the California Association of Homeowners Associations, told Legal Affairs magazine that a clothesline in a neighborhood can lower property values by 15 percent: "Modern homeowners don't like people's underwear in public. It's just unsightly."( All the worse for "modern homeowners"-Molly )
What do you think?

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