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'Right to dry' bill gets tossed

Posted August 2, 2009
Updated August 3, 2009

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— In the backyard of her Carrboro home, Sharon Kolling-Perin does something that some of her neighbors don’t like: she uses a clothesline.

“I think other people are concerned just about the look of it,” Kolling-Perin said.

Kolling-Perin says air drying her clothes is not only environmentally friendly, it also saves her money on electricity. However, homeowners in her Roberson Place subdivision have a ban on clotheslines hanging where neighbors can see them.

“Most people that buy in home associations, they want consistency. They want certain things and if not, they will buy single-family homes that are not governed by any home association,” property manager Ann Aylward said.

Kolling-Perin asked the homeowners association to change the rules. But Aylward says some homeowners were concerned that visible clotheslines would bring down property values.

Clothesline causes controversy in Carrboro Clothesline causes controversy in Carrboro

The right to line dry was recently debated by the General Assembly. Bill 1353, which passed the House 100-14 in May, would have stopped city and county ordinances from banning clotheslines. But the measure stalled in the Senate Commerce Committee last month.

“I think sometimes homeowners don't read the fine print on those association documents,” said Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford, who sponsored the clothesline legislation.

Harrison says hanging laundry out to dry should be a personal choice, and homeowners associations should not be allowed to restrict clotheslines in covenants.

“Then what good are our rules if the state can come in and change them however they feel later?” Aylward asked.

Kolling-Perin says at least the clothesline controversy is up for debate.

“I am going to try and change minds,” she added.

Kolling-Perin says she would try again in October, at the annual homeowner’s meeting, to get enough votes to have the community change the clothesline rules.

20 Comments

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  • doubletap357 Aug 5, 2009

    Most HOAs that I have been associated with are just like our government power hungry.

  • iamyeary Aug 4, 2009

    It's great to have the choice to live in a community with an HOA or not. It keeps everyone who hates them away from those who appreciate what they can do! HOA ALL THE WAY!! LOL

  • RDUTEC Aug 4, 2009

    I've only lived one place where there was a HOA. It is the reason I moved.
    The development next door to where I live has a HOA and have tried for years to get me into it. Since I was there before they were, they can't force me into it and have tried everything possible to do so. I can't see paying $50.00 a month for people to tell me what I can or can't do with my own property. They have already tried to get me to get rid of my hotrod pickup and my motorcycle. I just smile, thank them for their concern, and politely turn and walk away.

  • shep8851 Aug 4, 2009

    New York sez that if one wishes to hang clothes on a line--they must first purchase a permit to do so..oh well.

  • Tax Man Aug 4, 2009

    A homeowner should be permitted to have a clothesline on their property - so long as it is kept in good condition and that clothes are removed once dry. Big brother needs to stay out of this truly personal stuff! A better solution is to do what I do - use an indoor drying rack! That saves lots of electricity and clothes last longer, especially if they have any elastic in them! There is a local manufacturer in Chapel Hill: www.clothes-drying-rack.com and you can see their cute video on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7uB8M3LvDE - these are all the rage in Europe where folks pay a fortune for electricity - my neighbor is from Germany and she uses one on her back patio when she does her laundry!

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Aug 4, 2009

    They need to rein in the power of the overreaching Totalitarian HOAs.

    The HOAs are outside the law. The HOAs can do things that our law enforcement and courts can't due to you.

    They can fine and penalize you without the right to a hearing and due process.

  • jason3 Aug 4, 2009

    Why is everyone bashing the HOA? If you don't like the rules, don't move into the neigborhood. It's that simple! It seems like a petty argument but I would be upset too if I didn't like looking at clothes lines and my neighbor had one even those the rules said clearly said they weren't allowed.

  • saturn5 Aug 4, 2009

    HOAs were a good idea gone bad. They have way too much power and no meaninful oversight. I bought in an HOA neighborhood because it's nearly impossible to find housing in the city without it. Next time I move, it will be as far out in the country as necessary to avoid a HOA.

  • NC is my home Aug 4, 2009

    What a waste of the General Assembly’s time! Home Owners Associations should be banned & not get into everybody's business. There are starving kids in Appalachia, homeless in our cities, crime in our neighborhoods, illegal aliens taking over, & obscenity in the media—and HOA’s are worried about the size of their neighbor’s mailbox and a clothesline! Get a real life!

  • gboro_gal Aug 4, 2009

    There's nothing wrong with having a clothes line,we have one and use it often, but if there is a rule against it where she lives she needs to follow the rules or move somewhere else. And if Congress is trying to pass a clothes line bill they have way too much time on their hands.Government needs to stay out of peoples everyday lives

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