Categorized | Energy, Environment, Headlines

Time to Air Your Clean Laundry in Public

Time to Air Your Clean Laundry in Public

By Sarah (Steve) Mosko
Special to the Voice

Under a loosely-worded Huntington Beach “nuisance” code ordinance, a clothesline could be considered a public nuisance if “unsightly by reason of its condition or location.” A resident’s complaint would trigger assessment by a code enforcement officer who would determine whether a clothesline was in violation. Editor

During the Leave It to Beaver era of the late 1950s, most homes certainly had a clothesline and probably no one thought much about whether it offended their neighbors. It’s a safe assumption that June Cleaver, the perfect homemaker, would have taken issue with anyone even hinting her clothesline was an eyesore.

Then fast forward a half century to the present where the majority of Americans have abandoned the clothesline in favor of electric or gas dryers and homeowners associations (HOAs) routinely prohibit clotheslines or impose such restrictions as to effectively ban them. One can only guess what June would have said to that, even absent her knowing about the threats from global climate change and the pressing need to reduce America’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Few today will dispute that tossing a load of wet clothes into a clothes dryer is more convenient than pinning up clothes, one by one, and surveys confirm that most people living in communities governed by HOAs have no problem abiding by the restrictions on clotheslines from the standpoint of curb appeal or property values.

However, interest in reducing the oversized energy footprint of Americans – twice that of people living in the European Union – has given rise in a handful of states to so-called “right-to-dry” laws that rein in restrictions HOAs or other entities can impose on residents’ freedom to use clotheslines. California is not among them, however, despite its sunny weather and reputation for environmental progressiveness.

3 Responses to “Time to Air Your Clean Laundry in Public”

  1. Nanook says:

    Are there any reported cases of someone in Huntington Beach being prohibited from drying their clothes by the City or by their HOA?

    • admin says:

      I don’t know, but that’s a good question. Maybe Steve Mosko can recall from her inquiry, but I don’t think the city has a prohibition, but it seems likely that HOAs would.

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  1. […] City Voice, 18 June 2011 If all Californians used clotheslines, one nuclear power plant could be shut […]


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