Local News

'Right to dry' bill gets tossed

Posted August 2, 2009 9:35 p.m. EDT
Updated August 3, 2009 7:09 p.m. EDT

— 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.

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.