August 25, 2008

ARE CLOTHESLINES ILLEGAL IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?

When I was a newlywed, we lived in an old duplex and I remember hanging the sheets out on the ancient clothesline out back ... I think back to how sweet and soft those cotton sheets were, and how homey it made things. I have fond memories of that clothesline.

Today, I might be breaking the law for using it.

Apparently, all over the U.S. and elsewhere (Canada, for example) legislation as well as homeowner's association regulations, etc., have been implemented to purportedly protect property values. The Kansas City Star quotes one Baltimore, Maryland, resident complaining that a neighbor's use of a backyard clothesline "makes our community look like Dundalk."

Apparently, having to see your neighbor's clean laundry on the line quietly became unacceptable in modern society. Until now.

Slowly, communities are taking back their right to dry their clothes on a line in the back yard. Just last week, the New York Times reported on Southampton Town Board member Anne Throne-Holst, who successfully spearheaded a campaign to rescind the "anti-clothesline" legislation that had been on the books for six years.

In Colorado, the state legislature passed a new law that allows backyard clotheslines, effective this month (August 2008), as long as they meet homeowner associations' aesthetic guidelines.

Meanwhile, up north, those crazy Canadians are actually risking it -- it's being reported that they are just blatantly breaking the law, using their backyard clotheslines with pride.

Apparently, clotheslines are extremely controversial. So much so that an actual movement has been growing -- the 'Right to Dry' movement, where neighborhood by neighborhood, folks are standing up for their right to have and use clotheslines in their backyard in lieu of their electric or gas dryers.

So, are clotheslines okay in your neighborhood? Check with your homeowner's association, as well as your local representatives. Maybe you're forbidden to have one right now.