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Restricting rights, how much is too much?

beejay76 23 November 2010 20

I was just alerted by someone that out at Weetalabah Estate in Queanbeyan people aren’t allowed to erect a clothes line.  Residents are therefore forced to dry clothes in a dryer. I had heard of this kind of madness in the US but was appalled that it had made it here. So I thought I’d check and see if it’s really true. I found the management plan for Weetalabah Estate here.  Now this is a semi-rural estate with lots of 2 – 7 acres (roughly, as far as I can tell).

Item 4.0.5 (Housing and Outbuilding) mentions this item. Now, my friend didn’t have it quite right. People are allowed to have a clothes drying area. As long as it is screened on all sides to a height of 2.1 metres and completely invisible to any and all other people on the estate. You know, I don’t think much drying will get done when your line is essentially at the bottom of a steep-sided hole. So although they haven’t technically banned clothes lines, it seems it would be extremely difficult to actually dry clothes on one. Most people would probably give up in disgust and use the electric dryer.

The management plan in general makes for pretty unpleasant reading. There are also lots of other restrictions: on rainwater tanks; minimum house sizes (165 sqm, not including garagesand whatnot); maximum garden shed size (12 sqm – for a hobby farm??); and no hoofed animals (except, strangely, a single sheep, no horses allowed).  Oddly, although there’s a maximumof three dogs, there’s no maximum on cats. Now, obviously people buy into this estate (hopefully) having read the plan and therefore are aware of the myriad things they’re not allowed to do. But I think that surely there has to be a limit on what can be restricted? Is a restriction OK when it causes so much damage, such as increased CO2, increased reliance on town water? Is people’s willingness to accept it an excuse for getting away with it?

PS: I know Queanbeyan isn’t ACT, but I’m guessing that most residents work here.


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20 Responses to Restricting rights, how much is too much?
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loubird22 loubird22 3:15 pm 25 Nov 10

Not that I agree with the specific restriction on clothes lines, but I do have to say that I hate them. They look daggy (even worse with clothes on them) and then all your clothes are stiff and almost always there is at least one bug or spider on them.
In the US this restriction is in quite a few neighbourhoods, but that is somewhat understood as it isn’t common practice (generally seen as very low class). Here, I don’t see the point of restricting them as it is engrained in the Australian culture.
I wish I could remove mine, but I rent. I did the crazy thing of actually figuring out the yearly cost of running my dryer and it costs me approximately $60 a year. Worth it not to have to deal with crisp, spider infested clothes.

Rogue Rogue 10:49 am 25 Nov 10

My parents live out at Weetalabah, and have done so since the estate was open. My father was on the Body Corporate committee.

The rules & regs aren’t strictly strictly adhered to, they’re more like “guidelines” – but nobody has ever made a complaint.

Also, the fact that all of the houses in the estate are already built (and have been for nearly 10 years), they’re predominantly all landscaped, and therefore all their clotheslines are already erected kind of makes it a moot point?

Rangi Rangi 9:16 am 24 Nov 10

We have a neighbourhood association made up of volunteers from the estate, I think Merryfull estate at Murrumbateman has something similar

s-s-a s-s-a 8:55 pm 23 Nov 10

So, you brazenly dry your clothes, they seek to stop you brazenly and feloniously drying your clothes, and you agree to comply. The next time your clothes are hung out, they’re not drying, they’re on a field trip. The time after that, they’re at school of the outdoors. So then you get a legal notice that clothes are not to be visible in your grounds. Then youwander around buck naked to comply. And so on

Love it!!

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 8:51 pm 23 Nov 10

GBT said :

I own an apartment in a Body Corporate where you are “not allowed” to dry your clothes on the inward facing balcony (there are two) but I look at it much the same way as troll. It’s never once stopped me from doing it if I felt the need. No one has ever said anything, and even if they did, what could they do?

Shine on you crazy diamond.

Brianna Brianna 8:30 pm 23 Nov 10

troll-sniffer said :

So, you brazenly dry your clothes, they seek to stop you brazenly and feloniously drying your clothes, and you agree to comply. The next time your clothes are hung out, they’re not drying, they’re on a field trip. The time after that, they’re at school of the outdoors. So then you get a legal notice that clothes are not to be visible in your grounds. Then you wander around buck naked to comply. And so on.

Gales of laughter here. I like the way you think.

sepi sepi 5:40 pm 23 Nov 10

So in an estate, with no body corporate, who does actually deal with these sort of complaints?

Rangi Rangi 5:04 pm 23 Nov 10

we have the same clothes line rules for our estate no one seems to of struggled with it. Wack up a bit of a screen done, it’s no big deal. If it’s like our estate someone would have to complain about your *gasp* un-screened clothesline B4 anything happend

GBT GBT 4:20 pm 23 Nov 10

I own an apartment in a Body Corporate where you are “not allowed” to dry your clothes on the inward facing balcony (there are two) but I look at it much the same way as troll. It’s never once stopped me from doing it if I felt the need. No one has ever said anything, and even if they did, what could they do?

I think the difference is while these rules may be on the books, as it were, very little would be done to enforce them.

sepi sepi 4:11 pm 23 Nov 10

This is ridiculous. Just like in flats where you aren’t allowed to dry clothes on the balcony.

I would have thought climate change would have reversed these stupid ideas, but obviously not

James-T-Kirk James-T-Kirk 4:01 pm 23 Nov 10

If you can pay $1 million for the place, you can afford the appropriate lawyers if there is a problem.

It is your land – do what you like..

Actually, I suspect that there are no bylaws relating to testing jet aircraft engines……..

p1 p1 3:46 pm 23 Nov 10

beejay76 said :

As long as it is screened on all sides to a height of 2.1 metres and completely invisible to any and all other people on the estate.

Does the management plan have anything to say about erecting 2.1 metre high fences on your property?

I understand where rules like this come from, but personally I would prefer law *requiring* all houses to have a clothes line.

thatsnotme thatsnotme 3:36 pm 23 Nov 10

A quick look on Allhomes shows that houses out at that estate are starting at about $1,000,000 (only based on four places for sale, but I’d guess that the ‘cheap’ houses wouldn’t drop below $700,000 or so), so I’m not sure I’d go and compare the places there to hobby farms…I’m sure there would be plenty of residents who would be aghast at the thought of livestock in the area.

I’m sure that if you can afford to pay upwards of $1 million for a home, that building a drying area outside wouldn’t be beyond your means – and something made out of nice timber screening, with a few cm gap between the slats to allow airflow, would I’m sure get the job done just as well as if the hills hoist was plonked in the middle of the yard.

It’s not like there’s really and shortage of rural areas to buy into around Canberra, and if the restrictions at this place are too restrictive for a potential buyer, they’re not short of alternatives. It just sounds to me like whoever runs the estate has their target market firmly in mind, and they’re catering to them. I’d bet there are plenty of people who live there who bought at that location in part just because of rules like that.

aidan aidan 3:18 pm 23 Nov 10

My relos live at Weetalabh. Most residents seem to completely ignore those so-called rules.

It is my belief that real-estate agents make most of that stuff up so that the development will sound more exclusive and thereby command a premium.

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 3:11 pm 23 Nov 10

beejay76 said :

georgesgenitals said :

Jumping to conclusions much?

My friend’s words, although I think it’s a fairly reasonable conclusion in most cases. Although with the minimum size of the houses, you could easily slap in a drying room next to the 4-car garage and pool room.

It was probably a bit of a snippy comment anyway.

😛

beejay76 beejay76 3:05 pm 23 Nov 10

georgesgenitals said :

Jumping to conclusions much?

My friend’s words, although I think it’s a fairly reasonable conclusion in most cases. Although with the minimum size of the houses, you could easily slap in a drying room next to the 4-car garage and pool room.

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 3:04 pm 23 Nov 10

astrojax said :

agree, georgesgenitals, but bedclothes and other bulky things are difficult for this solution – as is the idea of being able to air things, like blankets, etc…

What we have tended to do is do ‘regular’ washing during the week, and then do the bedclothes and stuff on weekends. We often put things on clothes horses in the loungeroom, and then open the windows and door (we have large windows on three sides of the room plus a security screen door), and find that this works pretty well while we’re home on the weekends.

However, there are only 3 of us in the family, so don’t have heaps of washing, and we’ve kinda developed this approach over a number of years. When we moved in to our house it was a brand new suburb with few houses built, so we got in the habit of drying washing inside to avoid the inevitable dust from nearby building sites.

If I was the OP, I would find a place to locate an outside washing line where it’s discreet and non-obvious, and simply hang the washing out there anyway.

troll-sniffer troll-sniffer 2:42 pm 23 Nov 10

Simple. You own, possession is nine tenths of the law, you dry your clothes wherever you like. Obviously not on the fence between you and the neighbour, but if you choose to put up a clothesline and dry your clothes on it, the chances of any member of the hoity toity brigade in your estate actually doing anything about are essentially, zero, and even if they act, what are they going to do? Seriously, what can they do? Think about it.

So, you brazenly dry your clothes, they seek to stop you brazenly and feloniously drying your clothes, and you agree to comply. The next time your clothes are hung out, they’re not drying, they’re on a field trip. The time after that, they’re at school of the outdoors. So then you get a legal notice that clothes are not to be visible in your grounds. Then youwander around buck naked to comply. And so on.

Stipulations such as this are basically meaningless against a determined person who wants to stand up for sensible Australian rights at home.

astrojax astrojax 2:32 pm 23 Nov 10

agree, georgesgenitals, but bedclothes and other bulky things are difficult for this solution – as is the idea of being able to air things, like blankets, etc…

as to the op, i guess the pertinent thing is tenants agreeing to these restrictions. that said, no clotheslines on a couple of acres because it might be unsightly seems a lot obnoxious and i’d probably not agree to move in…

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 2:19 pm 23 Nov 10

“Residents are therefore forced to dry clothes in a dryer.”

Jumping to conclusions much? We don’t use our outside clothesline at all (never have), but rather hang our washing on fold out clothes horses inside in the sun.

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