Monday, February 16, 2009

Right to Dry law public hearing to be held Tuesday

News and Commentary

The energy committee of the state legislature is holding a public hearing on a proposed bill which would bar any statutes or covenants which restrict the right to use solar power to dry laundry. The bill, entitled "An act concerning the freedom to dry," is one of the first bills sponsored by Middletown's Representative Matt Lesser. Gail Hamm and James O'Rourke, representing parts of Middletown, are also sponsoring the bill.

Currently several Middletown Homeowner's Associations
effectively ban clotheslines and drying racks. The Old Farms Neighborhood policy is, "Clothes lines and drying racks shall be screened or so located as not to be visible from any point on adjacent Lots." Wesleyan Hills has an even more restrictive policy: "Clotheslines must be in rear yards and screened from the view of other properties, the public streets, and common open space. Clotheslines are seasonal can be put up April 1 and must be removed by October 31." Very few houses in either neighborhood are so completely screened from all neighboring properties that nobody else could ever see a clothesline. Those policies thus effectively ban the use of low-cost solar and wind energy to dry clothing.

Air drying of clothes saves energy (about 1/6th of domestic energy use in the U
S is for dryers), it saves about $25 per month off electric bills, clothing lasts longer when air dried, sunlight bleaches and disinfects, and air drying conserves the environment. Many communities throughout the United States are recognizing that it makes no sense to ban clotheslines and have eliminated any restrictions on clotheslines. In these times of economic difficulties it seems particularly inappropriate to ban the use of a free means of drying clothes.

Outdoor clotheslines do more than just provide a free and clean way to dry clothes, they promote health and community. So many of our neighborhoods have developed in ways that remove residents from view. The frequency of seeing somebody on the porch, or walking from the curb to house has decreased. A visible clothesline can restore some of what has been lost. When the weather breaks and the laundry comes out, the profusion of colors is like a blossoming of flowers swaying in the
breeze, adding color and humanity to the neighborhood.

For all of the Doonesbury cartoons on Clotheslines, go HERE.

The Connecticut Chapter of the Sierra Club is lobbying to help pass this bill, contact Marty Mador for more information. The bill itself is quite simple
Project Laundry List is a nationwide group that promotes solar powered drying.


Anonymous said...

Banning clotheslines is insane, disgusting. The purest sign of American selfishness and groupthink I've ever heard of. This law must pass, even though I'm not thrilled with subsection d, which seems to make the whole thing moot.

Anonymous said...

Old Dog Tray's Helpful Hints

In the same vein, shaking and beating rugs, pillows and other dust and pet-hair accumulators, is more effective than vacuum cleaning, saves energy and provides good exercise, too. Maybe a law should be passed against vacuuming?

Also, in this climate, some people need many layers of alpaca fleece, sheep wool, goat cashmere, rabbit angora, usually all worn at the same time, to stay warm in winter and make up for a genetic disposition towards insufficient body fat.

As a thrifty Swamp Yankee, I detest the depredations on the wallet from the Dry Cleaner and advise others like myself to embrace Woolite.

The acorn does not fall far from the tree and I am tickled to hear that my son, soon to obtain his MA in something I do not comprehend, is experimenting with making homemade soap!

All this points the way to real success for Obama's recently instituted economic stimuli and the politics of change...

Middletown One said...

My concern is the fact that these home owners knew that when buying a home in these areas, the assoc. has these rules. If this just another law the legislator shoves down the citizens mouth.
I'm sick and tired of the state telling ppl what they can or can not do...
It gets worse every year, just watch, the state will next tell us where we can and can not live depending on their PLAN!!!
The state needs to leave the people alone!!!!
Rep. Lesser, Hamm, O'rourke, Leave me alone!!! you have done enough

Anonymous said...

Ah yes... but my libertarian friends..the state is not telling you what you can or cannot do, it is telling you what you CAN do, this is the difference.

Anonymous said...

Middletown One, it is absolutely ridiculous to say that this is an example of state control. This is a right, like the Bill of Rights, which is designed to protect your freedom to do as you like. It is to stop other people infringing on your right to dry your clothes on a clothesline if you want to.

They are leaving you alone. Nobody is making you use a clothesline if you don't want to. They're stopping people from using some spurious economic justification to infringe someone else's freedom.

Middletown One said...

What about the rights of the assoc.
That was my point!!!

johnpauljustlikethepope said...

Private communities can make rules for aesthetic purposes, and these private communities may be protected by the right to associate. Still, the state has jurisdiction when civil rights are impinged, such as when blacks are not allowed.
Maybe the need to reduce energy dependence does give the legislature the right to override private associations.
Love clothes lines, don't get me wrong. I'm a green type person. I am just not sure sheets have civil rights. If protesters showed up at a pro-clothesline rally wearing sheets, then that might make for civil rights issue.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely outrageous that government would impose a rule on to a community that has it own democratic process to promulgate its own regulations. The communities affected are private and not government entities. If the state legislature and its misguided members such as Lesser want to show off their (dirty) laundry let them! I live in a community were I choose not to have to look at my neighbors’ laundry. If, however, the community chooses to elect a change to their rules that is their business, not the business of a bunch of misguided legislators. Time is now to un-elect these misguided idiots!

Anonymous said...

Our lovely local officials have the time to consider the legality of clotheslines in private communities, yet when it comes to open space issues, actual zoning violations etc.... they are too busy.

The time has come to get rid of all off them and elect new members.

Anonymous said...

Amazing that you can think one democratic regime restricting actions and dictating how people can live their lives is OK, but another democratic regime guaranteeing freedom is Big Brother. How can you believe these plainly insane ideas? Because the former serves classism and xenophobia--the "aesthetic" values you meantion--under the very thin guise of a laughable economic argument. Oh yes, I'm sure that in this current property market, neighbors hanging their clothes out to dry is a major factor in property values.

Anonymous said...

A statute governing who is entitled to hang laundry on a clothesline could be useful to ensure equal access to sunshine and wind for all citizens not just a fortunate few. A subsection should include penalties for hanging dirty linens as well!

Anonymous said...

I can see the meetings for the legislature to consider whether hanging underwear on a clothes line is appropriate or not.

Boxer or briefs?

Please... people that moved into a housing area with restrictions need to abide by the rules or institute a policy change or move.

The goverment has no business discussing this issue at all.

Anonymous said...

Clinton, CT - Here in our little rural waterside community, as in Middletown, the HOAs have banned clotheslines. Why? When did fresh clean clothes become an ugly sight? When did standing in the fresh air to hang up become so darned difficult that a machine has to do it. clothes last longer hung to dry, they smell delightful - they never wrinkle - and in fact in addition to saving electricity to hang them, we will save electricity ironing them - and time too. Clothes on the line dry in half the time if sunny, and if not - oh well -- they still smell fresh and feel crisp and clean. Even in the coldest winter in New England, a windy day can be utilized to fill the line with color. I love the time hanging my clothes - it's a private, quiet, thinking time, or a time to look over to the next condo to say Hi to someone standing or sitting on their porch. It is a time to listen to the birds, hear the rustle of the trees, or in winter, watch the wind blow snow off the pines. Why do we need "clean clothes free " neighborhoods, pray tell??? Please pass a law to ban HOAs from banning clothelines and do so quickly. Thanks, a Clinton, CT woman thinking of the environment, thinking of saving money, thinking of beauty, thinking of health, (I could go on forever -t he benefits are numerous).....