A dispute over guidelines for lawn ornaments
has created a major flap in one Coeur d'Alene neighborhood.
One that has had two sides of the issue
pecking at each other for over a week now.
At least one side is seeing red. Both
sides are seeing pink.
Jeanie Brereton, a resident of Harbor
View Estates, thought the homeowners association's rules requiring approval
for yard ornamentation were a little too arbitrary.
She thought a few of the classicly-tacky
American pink flamingos would provide a jestful jab at the Architectural
Committee, which administers the design covenants of the Kidd Island community.
So she put a little flock of them in her
yard, peeking out at passersby from behind the iron fence.
Many of her neighbors loved it, she said.
"They'd honk and wave when they drove by. It made them smile."
On June 10, Brereton and her husband Dan were
sent a letter signed by property manager manager Douglas Mayo. "I have
recently noticed the flamigo's [sic] in your yard," said the letter in
|Eldes and Ken Johnson stand next to their pink Cadillac decorated with
American flags and plastic pink flamingos in front of their home in Harbor
View Estates near Kidd Island Bay.
They were advised that approval or removal
by June 30 was required to comply with the covenants of the association.
She replied with a letter to the association
regarding the "Flamigo's."
"My best guess would be that this is,
in fact, a hybrid of the highly sought 'Flamingos' seen migrating North
and West throughout Harbor View Estates.
"Since these are actually migrating 'Flamigo's'
not permanent 'Flamigo's,'" the covenants do not apply, she wrote.
Since then, said Brereton, many of her
neighbors have joined in the battle of the birds, erecting their own flocks
of flamingos throughout the neighborhood.
It's a protest against what she and others
consider as overzealous enforcement of the upscale Kidd Island community's
Betty Sederling, another resident of the
area describes some of the neighbors as "a little Gestapo," reporting the
most minor infractions of covenants to the board.
"It's ridiculous up here" she says of
the friction in the neighborhood.
She and her husband Lars, a retired Culver
City, Calif., police chief, have four of the birds on their lawn and another
pair on a vacant lot they own, she said.
Asked where they're finding so many of
the birds, she said, "The 50 Percent Off Card Store. They're going to have
a good year."
Ken Johnson also ran "afowl" of the board,
he said. In 1998, he was told he needed to provide better screening to
hide his propane tank from view.
He put in a fence with an arbor and vines,
he said, and was later commended in the community newsletter for the results.
Then, a month ago, he was advised his
screen was not up to standards.
"That's the way they work," said Brereton,
a former member of the board.
"After the general membership meetings,
the board members sit around and decide who to harass next. I quit. I wouldn't
be part of that."
Mayo offered no comment on the situation,
referring questions to association president Mike Anderson, who resides
in the community.
Though they face possible fines, Anderson
said, none had been levied for any recent infractions.
"This is just one or two disgruntled members,"
he said of the growing flock joining Brereton's cause.
"A number of people here don't care for
them," he says of the flamingos.
"We're just enforcing the covenants. Section
3.11 says yard ornaments must have prior approval of the architectural
Meanwhile, Johnson has converted his pink
Cadillac into the neighborhood "Flamingo Patrol," decorating it with more
of the famous flamingos.
And, says, Brereton, other members of
the community have agreed to pay the $35 per month fine the association
can levy if they choose.
And the flamingo flocks have fanned out
around the neighborhood, with nearly a dozen so far.
"We're sick of people bossing us around,"