NIMBY Local Government Sues Owner of Flintstones Replica House Over Dinosaurs and Giant 'Yabba Dabba Doo' Sign

The town of Hillsborough, CA has deemed a sign bearing the cartoon character's famous catchphrase an "eyesore" and "public nuisance."


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Last week, the small, wealthy Bay Area town of Hillsborough filed a lawsuit against the owner of local Flintstone-replica house, arguing that several metal dinosaurs and a giant "Yabba Dabba Doo" sign on the property were added without permission and constitute a public nuisance.

Originally built in the freewheeling 1970s, Hillsborough's "Flintstone House" has long been a source of controversy from neighbors who did not care for its unique aesthetic, and who reportedly created the town's architectural review board to stop future cartoon-themed homes from popping up.

In 2017, the house was purchased by Florence Fang, a prominent Bay Area entrepreneur and former publisher of the San Francisco Examiner, who shortly thereafter began a series of alterations to the property with wanton disregard for permitting requirements or Hillsborough's voluminous zoning code.

This included the addition of several dinosaur statues and a sign bearing Fred Flintstone's famous catchphrase, as well as more traditional improvements like a parking strip, deck, and gate.

Fang reportedly did all of this without seeking the required permits. In January, July, and August of 2018, she received three separate stop work orders, all of which she ignored. In October of that year, the town government fined Fang $200 and ordered her to remove the dinosaurs from her property.

Fang paid the fine, but did not remove any statues. Now the town is suing.

In a complaint filed last week, the town government declares Fang's metal dinosaurs and Flintstones sign to be "a highly visible eyesore and are out of keeping with community standards" and a public nuisance on top of that.

Hillsborough is asking for a court order requiring Fang to remove her various "landscaping improvements" from the property. It is also demanding Fang cover the city's legal fees.

Attempts to reach Fang for comment were unsuccessful. Assuming the claims in Hillsborough's lawsuit are accurate, she did indeed ignore the town's land use regulations. That's really more cause for praise than anything else however.

One of the beautiful things about private property is the freedom it allows for people to express themselves. Zoning codes and residential design guidelines quash that freedom by dictating what homes have to look like.

Fang's refusal to take down statues and signs on her property is a stirring example of civil disobiedence, one that might well see her name go down in history.

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  1. might well see her name go down in history.

    I bet you had to look that up.

    1. They don’t call him Christone Gritschgi for nothing.

      1. (Impossible name to Flintstonize.)

        1. I don’t know…something Grit, maybe?

          1. My Flintstone name is Mongo Crackrock.

            1. Are we still doing phrasing?

            2. i got it.

              1. Me2. Fist is on fire today.

    2. Fang’s for the memories!

  2. >>>small, wealthy Bay Area town

    full stop.

    >>>Attempts to reach Fang for comment were unsuccessful.

    have to talk into the giant pelican

  3. “Look at him, drunk as a skunk-o-saurus!”

  4. “…the small, wealthy Bay Area town of Hillsborough”

    Seems like a Flintstone theme park if just about right for them and their “voluminous zoning code”

    1. Great thing about the “Flintstones” house is already the one house in all of Hillsborough very prominently visible on a hillside to everyone who drives by on the freeway.

  5. Black activists ask NAACP to rescind Jussie Smollett nomination

    Project 21, a prominent black leadership network, on Monday called for the NAACP to rescind embattled “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett’s Image Award nomination for “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series,” which was announced before he was charged with staging a hate crime.

    “Smollett is charged with perpetrating a hate crime hoax that wasted valuable police resources and stoked racial tensions nationwide. It hurt our nation’s ability to heal its racial wounds and made the NAACP’s civil rights goals harder to achieve,” Nedd II continued. “The NAACP needs to make it clear that his behavior is not OK by removing him from contention for an Image Award.”

    1. Why penalize a brother just because he let his imagination run wild?


      1. Hey, that was just a public performance artwork!

        1. A lifetime of othering made him do it.

    2. Damn good idea! Never wait for a conviction is my motto; inflict all punishments immediately.
      It’s really just fairness, that is what ‘they’ did to them white boys at Duke, right?

      1. You seem to be conflating the government’s criminal prosecution requirements with those of non-government actors. And their evidence standards….

    3. His fake MAGA attack was his greatest performance to date.

      1. Well, I hadn’t heard of him before he did it, so it was great publicity.

      2. He was unconvincing in the role.

    4. His work on a particular show or movie should stand on its own merit, no? If accolades are dictated by politics (of course they all are) then they are meaningless.

  6. My business is in a town filled with assholes described in the article. Always looking for trouble and to corner people who don’t have the ‘appropriate permits’. These zombie busy bodies hide behind bureaucratic bull shit to snitch on one another. Hate them. One piece of shit also called the city on us during a renovation job.

    Good luck to Ms. Fang. Give them hell and give them the middle finger.

    1. There is always gonna be at least one asshole snitch in the neighborhood. That’s why these things are so easily enforced.

    2. There is no tyrant so vile as a local politician.

      The LP wastes its energy trying to get a president elected every four years. They need to focus on where where the real statism is: city offices. Why try to drain the swamp in DC when the sewers are overflowing in every city across the nation?

    3. “Always looking for trouble and to corner people who don’t have the ‘appropriate permits’.”

      You must live near* LC1789 who, in another recent article’s comments, bragged about cornering some foreigners for yet an even WORSE offense, not having just the wrong permits, but having no permits or papers at all.

      *I’ve been lurking here long enough to know you’re from Canuckistan and LC is from an alternate, dystopian reality where blatant authoritarianism is considered libertarian.

    4. So many local government eyes, so few thumbs.

  7. “…and a public nuisance on top of that.”

    She’ll have to sit on the Group W bench!

    1. She’ll have a grand old time with all the father rapers.

      1. And playin’ with the pencils.

  8. BTW, the house is clearly visible to the right heading north on I-280.

    1. The house is near the end of a dead-end street as well. There are only 4 neighbors who would have to see it on a regular basis. The odds of guessing which one(s) are the NIMBYs is great!

  9. “Our agent, a transplanted San Franciscan, disapproved mightily of the unusual house nestled on the triangular lot at the intersection of Armstrong Parkway and Preston Road. It was, we could tell from his tone, something of a local scandal. They’d torn down a beautiful old home to build it, he said. And the city doesn’t have any sort of architectural review board to prevent such outlandish designs!”
    This Bold House: Some people call it the “Smurf house” or the “mushroom house,” and a lot of people hate it. But this unusual home has something rare in Dallas: conviction. And it’s evidence of the city’s freedom to realize your dreams.

    1. That house is beautiful! Before I clicked through I was imagining some plaster mushroom monstrosity, but it’s quite nice. Genuinely nice.

      1. I have driven past it from time to time over the decades and have always enjoyed seeing it.

    2. The spaceship house has been on Pensacola Beach forever. I imagine years of zoning and permit red tape would be required to build something like this today. But no neighbor lawsuits, Pensacola just isn’t like that, except in the “historic districts”.

  10. “and who reportedly created the town’s architectural review board to stop future cartoon-themed homes from popping up.”

    Sounds like a conspiracy to violate constitutional rights to me; arrest them all!

    . . . and if the house itself isn’t “a highly visible eyesore and are out of keeping with community standards”, then nothing added could possibly be . .

  11. “I’d like to apply for a dinosaur permit, please…” sounds like the opening of a Monty Python sketch.

      1. Do you have your arguing license?

        1. Ministry of Silly Responses

      2. Apply to the Knights of Di-ni-saur!

  12. architectural review board to stop future cartoon-themed homes from popping up.

    Of course, when you come right down to it, *all* homes are cartoon-themed.

  13. This one is near and dear to my heart. How many times have I commented here about our fascination with the Federal government is a case of myopia. Local governments stomp on people’s civil rights every day and get away with it.

    My run ins with government have always been with local government. And, I worked in local government for more than 20 years.

    1. The amount of control over one’s private property that local governments have is mindboggling. The ability to fight them is so limited and expensive. And yet, most people just ignore the issue with the attitude of “I’m not doing anything wrong so I have nothing to worry about”…..until they get fined for something they had no idea that was even a violation of municipal ordiance and an attorney tells them that the City can do that, that it’s too expensive to fight and that those fines might actually stand.

      1. In my case it was $1,000 per day because the “suspected” I was renting out a vacant house I own (I wasn’t but refused to provide them with copies of my income tax returns or answer questions about the house – I didn’t want them to know it was vacant since that would then be public information and I’d had nothing but problems with neighbors since I had moved out). I had just told them they were wrong; that it wasn’t a rental and I signed that statement. They then began sending me invoices for $1,000/day fines because I was “non-compliant”.

        Over the years, I’ve become an observer of municipal ordiances due to the stupid run ins I’ve had with the one city. I’ve noted that every ordinance starts out after definitions with “Counsel finds this to be a public nuisance” or similar wording. So it comes down to if city staff says you have a public nuisance they can do whatever they want to you.

        The lack of clear definitions and the inconsistancies as to how these ordinances are or, are not applied are amazing. And yet, they stand.

        Only a few months ago the same paper the OP article came from published a positive article about this very same place in the real estate section calling it a whimsical landmark, etc. Now, the city rushes in to abolish it.

        1. Are you Clint Bolick? Does the esteemed Judge grace us with his presence? That’s pretty much spot on what he was talking about with The Jacket last week.

    1. That house is cool. I would love to have something like this in the neighborhood. I thought diversity was a virtue!

      1. Agreed. It’s pretty neat.

    2. Now, I see why they want to punish her. Born in the USA? How dare she proclaim and be proud of that!

  14. Its funny how a city that once touted architectural freedom is now one of the most heavily regulated to stay within “Accepted norms”. Liberals always looking for ways to regulate

  15. It’s an ugly fucking house, but I dunno, maybe don’t buy property near it if you don’t like it?

  16. One of the beautiful things about private property is…

    how taxable it is.

  17. Everyone does know that Fang was a saberkitty character on the Flintstones?

  18. Of course we all know there’s a simple solution to the problem – if the neighbors don’t like what she’s doing with the property they are free to offer to buy the property from her and then they could do with it as they please. Of course, having money sunk into the property may necessitate their doing something economically productive with the property, like operating a Flintstone-themed tourist attraction, perhaps. Add a few rides, some concession stands, a lightshow, a big parking lot……

  19. Hillsborough is a hoity-toity town full of hyper-affluent progressives. I mean, it’s one of the very few places in California that has an actual chateau. It’s Malibu North. Makes Beverly Hills look like a dump. It’s really hard to muster up sympathy for anyone who chose to move there, let along a former editor of the Chronicle.

    But strange and wacky houses like this are a staple of Americana.

    My own home town has a house made out of wine bottles (seriously). Two blocks down from me the new owners of a property tore down a steel allosaurus that was in the front lawn. I was sad to see it go. Even the famed Theodore Geisle in the middle of ultra-rich La Jolla, had a “Taj Mahal” house. Staples of Americana.

    I suspect this house is an issue because only rich lawyers can afford to live in Hillsborough, and as we all know lawyers are completely unable to let people just get on with their lives.

  20. there are things I like to say about NIMBY people and governments. Like I do understand if they are NIMBYing a Criminal Halfway House or a Nuclear Powerplant, but NIMBY someone building a Cartoon House on their privately own property that have absolutely no safety risks for the public is just plane ridiculous

  21. Yeah, I’d do it, too ~ if I had her money! Most people don’t fight City Hall because they can’t afford to.

  22. So the local government wants to force her to take down a sign and some statues. That sounds like illegal censoring of artistic expression which is protected under 1A. This lady should have a slam dunk case on this one.

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