Friday, July 20, 2007

giving you a line...

Let it all hang out

Some say clotheslines save precious energy, but rules -- imaginary and real -- may be a stiff, opposing wind

The Hamilton Spectator

(Jul 20, 2007)

Feel free to flap your knickers in the breeze.

Despite whispers, rumours and passionate beliefs about city bylaws, the truth is that in most cases, there's no one to stop you from letting it all hang out on the laundry line.

Many city residents will earnestly tell you there is a bylaw governing clotheslines. They'll almost swear by it, having heard from neighbours and friends over the years about what is and what is not acceptable for outside laundering.

The funny thing is, the city says there aren't any rules about waving your skivvies in the wind.

There's nothing in the property standards bylaws regulating clotheslines and there's nothing in zoning bylaws from Ancaster, Flamborough and Dundas.

According to past and present city councillors in Stoney Creek, there's nothing on the books they know of to stop the laundry lines at that end of the city, either.

It is possible that certain covenants in subdivision agreements can prohibit the use of clotheslines. But it's also possible for some covenants to have an expiry date on them.

One place to toe the line is condominiums, where many boards have passed bylaws restricting clothesline use.

For the most part, though, Hamiltonians are free to flutter their laundry about and that's good news to some.

With rising energy costs and environmental concerns, an old-fashioned clothesline is one way to help the Earth stay green and the pocketbook full.

Jeff Condello, 37, was fairly certain there was a bylaw in his Stoney Creek neighbourhood restricting hanging clotheslines.

He's got an umbrella-style one in his back yard that he and his family use occasionally, but he's now thinking of going full tilt with a back-yard line.

"You'd figure with all the new restrictions ... to conserve power that they'd be telling people to put clotheslines up."

Toronto environmental law specialist Dianne Saxe is fighting for the right to do just that.

While no one was able to point to a subdivision in Hamilton that had restrictive clothesline covenants yesterday, Saxe says the issue, along with zoning restrictions and condo rules, is a problem for some people in the province.

She's advocating that a regulation be added to the provincial Energy Conservation Leadership Act that would include clotheslines as a recognized energy-saving measure.

If added, the rules in the act would supercede any other regulation, including subdivision covenants.

"I think the purpose of the act was to recognize that we have some really important energy issues to deal with," Saxe says.

"And having to look at other people's clotheslines may not be the greatest sacrifice we have to make."


No comments: