New rule: If you find yourself using the phrase "mid-century vernacular" in the commission of telling a homeowner that she can't tear down her chain-link fence, it's time step far, far away from a government salary and any power to tell people what to do. Here's the Washington Post's John Kelly:
To most eyes, a chain-link fence in the front yard does not scream curb appeal. Simple — but not what you'd call "elegantly simple" — it's what a set decorator might prescribe when he wants to conjure up mean streets. A white picket fence it ain't.
Which is why some homeowners in Old Town Alexandria were surprised to learn recently that their chain-link fences were historic and that removing them could put them in hot water with the city's historic preservation office. [...]
As the historic preservation staff wrote in its recommendation: "While many feel that [chain-link] fences have negative connotations, this material has played an important role in the development of mid-century vernacular housing and their cultural landscape.... By eradicating this 'simple fencing solution,' the applicant would be removing an important contextual clue to the original occupants of this neighborhood."
And here's your requisite Stockholm Syndrome quote:
Charles Hall has been helping his sister with the red tape. He said he understands the need for zoning rules. "You cannot have everybody in the city doing what they want," he said. "You'd have chaos."