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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Snooty suburbanites resist clotheslines

Motivated by the potential energy savings and the reduced environmental impact, many people are looking at hanging their laundry to dry outside. After all, the wind and sun are free.
The clothesline was once a ubiquitous part of the residential landscape. But as postwar Americans embraced labor-saving appliances, clotheslines came to be associated with people who couldn't afford a dryer. Now they are a rarity, purged from the suburban landscape by legally enforceable development restrictions. (emphasis mine)
These are the same covenants that require "medium to dark tones" of house paint and a minimum of a two-car garage (preferably a large, bland edifice dominating the street face of the houses). And it's costly policy:

Clothes dryers account for 6% of total electricity consumed by U.S. households, third behind refrigerators and lighting, according to the Residential Energy Consumption Survey by the federal Energy Information Administration. It costs the typical household $80 a year to run a standard electric dryer, according to a calculation by E Source Cos., in Boulder, Colo., which advises businesses on reducing energy consumption.

Homeowners who are looking to do good by the environment and their pocketbook have been threatened with legal action from their associations.
Facing the threat of legal action, Ms. Taylor has in recent days resorted to hanging the laundry in her garage, with the door open slightly. But she says that denies her laundry the direct benefits of the sun and the fresh mountain air. She is thinking of moving to a less-restrictive neighborhood.
Good idea. Anyone who thinks a suburban subdivision represents the pinnacle of sightly design deserves a smack in the face.

1 comment:

SpoonySuburbanite said...

My community association sent me a letter requiring me to remove my roommate's moped from the premises. (Mopeds are apparently against the bylaws.) This moped is my roommate's only means of transit. In addition, we share a parking space with his moped and my car. Evidently, though, the rules are written such that it's perfectly fine to take up two spots with a pair of gas-guzzling cars, but it's not okay to take up a single space space with a car and a highly fuel-efficient moped.

Luckily, I talked to the guy in charge, and he turned out to be much more reasonable than the association bylaws he's asked to enforce, so the moped can stay. But it's still a stupid rule.