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Thread: Regulating paint colors of homes: what do we think?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Joe Iliff's avatar
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    Regulating paint colors of homes: what do we think?

    Farmers Branch is a first-ring suburb of Dallas, and some residents are asking the City Council to consider regulating the colors someone can paint their house.

    Farmers Branch residents in a paint brawl
    By STEPHANIE SANDOVAL / The Dallas Morning News LINK
    "When you paint your house some fluorescent or garish color scheme, you negatively affect my [home] value," said Robin Bernier, who with fellow resident Matt Burton has asked the City Council to consider requiring permits and color approval before residents can repaint.
    Others, however, bristle at the idea of policing pigments. "There is no compelling public purpose to infringe on my property rights and freedom of expression," former council member Carol Dingman said.
    What do we think? Is regulating paint colors of single family homes a reasonable government action to protect property values in the community? Or is it overreaching into individual decisions that don't significantly impact the general public?
    JOE ILIFF
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  2. #2
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Over reaction. Damned commie planners!

  3. #3
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    A big old no. Completely stupid. Might be justified within a historic district.

    This is such a product of snippy, butt-insky neighbors who have a seriously warped idea of what can cause property devaluations.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Ugh...

    What's next? Requiring people to grow a certain kind of flower, so that they don't clash with the neighbor's flowers?

  5. #5
    Zoning Lord Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Generally, I'd be opposed to regulating paint colors. But if my neighbor painted his house purple or orange, I could be persuaded to change my mind.


    The community of Sea Ranch in Sonoma County CA prohibits the painting of homes. But that limitation is contained in the homeowners covenants and not enforced by the county.
    Annoyingly insensitive

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    Regulation would be just plain wrong. It is only paint.
    Of course I would be the one that painted a historic house 7 shades of purple. But the neighbor did his in Hot pink and teal. We had colorful painted ladies.
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

  7. #7
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Boo hiss! I don't like the ugly ranch house down the street and I could argue it diminishes the value of my historic home. But then I would be a loathsome a$$ deserving of public ridicule...
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Plan 9's avatar
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    Sounds like a job for the dreaded HOA nazis.

    I would have a difficult time seeing how regulating paint color advances/protects a valid government interest.
    "Future events such as these will affect you in the future."

  9. #9
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Joe Iliff
    Or is it overreaching into individual decisions that don't significantly impact the general public?
    This is exactly right. No one should EVER regulate color. This is how we got monotonous "muted earth tone" communities.

    Now I am fired up. This sucks.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    It's bad enough that HOA's regulate this. I love bright colors, including neons and flourescents (maybe I should move down to Miami). If my doublemint green house with teal trim is an eyesore to my neighbor, could I argue that his loud houseparties are an earsore?

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    No. The administrative burden of this idea is enough to prove its unworkability. Writing the ordinance would be another headache. How do you allow for painted ladies? How do you define taste? This thread contains a perfect example, in RJ's screed against orange and purple. In my neighborhood someone has painted their house orange with purple trim, and it looks great. The right salmony shade of orange and the perfect magenta for highlights.

    If someone wants to live in a place where colors are regulated, let them go to a place with CC&Rs and a HOA. Which is the kind of place I would never live. No Neighbor Nazis for me.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    Unfortunately garish colors do negatively reflect on adjacent property values, whether we want to admit it or not.

    Homeowner organizations are better suited to control this in their area than the city, because of the voluntary association of people with similar preferences. That way they can have a unifying color scheme of purples if they want. It is primarily their area that will be negatively (or positively) affected.

    Having said that, it is an natural progression to show that cities can have the same group preferences if desired (through the election process). Some cities may honestly want to have classic off-white color schemes (or whatever). I personally would not like to live in a city that allowed only colors that reflected its neighboring college colors. If you don't like it, you are free to choose another city.

    Also, a city may publish recommended guidelines - like paint stores recommend certain paint schemes that go together well by consensus of their company artists.

    There is no accounting for taste, but there is good taste and bad taste. It may be a natural or an acquired sensitivity, and some may never see its value. Some people don't see anything wrong with parking a car in their front yard either, but we regulate it - or not. Which community would you want to live in?

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    If you look into towns that have done this, besides those with some historical significance (Cape May, NJ), this always gets thrown back in the towns face...i.e, someone will paint their house ALL of the allowed colors, like rainbow briteish.

    Best to leave this one alone. Really, how many tacky colored homes do you actually get?

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Captain Worley's avatar
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    I hate things like this. Regulating paint color is ridiculous almost beyond the point of conversation.

    The house across the street from my MIL is painted a lurid shade of Highway Maintenance Equipment Yellow, and I gag every time I see the thing, but I wouldn't even consider asking the gvernment to make him change it. Too much intrusion.
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    Cyburbian Joe Iliff's avatar
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    I appreciate everyone sharing their thoughts on this.

    Just as an update, it doesn't appear that this is going anywhere. Staff seems to be unreceptive to the idea, and Farmers Branch is already fighting battles about whether it can or should enforce anti-illegal immigration regulations, which are currently tied up in court. I can't see them taking up another thing to fight about.

    This story just caught my eye as one of more than a few "we need more government regulation of property" stories to hit local newsmedia here in Texas in recent months. There are lots of "leave my and my property alone" stories, but maybe just as many "regulate my neighbor and his/her property" stories.
    JOE ILIFF
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    Debt is normal . . . Be weird!
    Dave Ramsey

    "Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think."
    Martin Luther King, Jr.

  16. #16
    In my historic neighborhood (South End - Boston), you need permission to paint the front doors or lintels, period. Actually you need permission to do anything to facades. It works and just about everyone agrees to comply (except for one guy who filed suit and lost some years ago), because of the special quality of the neighborhood and the fact that it does preserve the beauty, historical accuracy and the property values in the neighborhood.

    However: DO NOT TRY THIS ANYWHERE ELSE

    It would never work elsewhere.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian ruralplanner's avatar
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    I suggested to one of the towns I work with that they adopt a color pallet of earthtone colors to preserve rural character. This was my idea. Bad idea. Bad, Bad Idea. Between evil eyes and laughs I learned not to do that again. Following that meeting, a group of property rights folks got a hold of my suggestion. The rest was history.

    I told my wife what happened and she called my a Nazi (laughing).

  18. #18
    We don't even regulate colors in our historic districts, aside from prohibiting the painting of the main body of any building black. Way, way, way too confrontational. Our preservation commission does suggest color palettes that are appropriate to a building's history and architecture, but it is not mandatory.

    Quote Originally posted by Captain Worley
    The house across the street from my MIL is painted a lurid shade of Highway Maintenance Equipment Yellow, and I gag every time I see the thing, but I wouldn't even consider asking the gvernment to make him change it. Too much intrusion.
    My neighbor painted his (American Foursquare style) house pepto bismol pink about 8 years ago with a purplish/bluish trim. It was, shall we say, a neighborhood landmark. I could tolerate it only because I had a large white pine that fairly screened it from view. Then the pine died. Now the paint has faded to a whitish/washed out pink and blue. It's especially unpleasant under the glow of his personal sodium vapor security light.
    Last edited by Gedunker; 11 Oct 2007 at 3:47 PM.
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  19. #19
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    I agree with Mendelman. Sometimes it's necessary for Historic Preservation, but community-wide is over-reacting (and over-reaching).

  20. #20
    Cyburbian vagaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Joe Iliff View post
    Is regulating paint colors of single family homes a reasonable government action to protect property values in the community? Or is it overreaching into individual decisions that don't significantly impact the general public?

    I'm kind of on the fence about this! I've seen a lot of strange colors on houses, mostly older homes - even dilapidated homes - where the owner thinks a coat of bright blue paint will make it look better. Some colors are out of line, such as just about anything fluorescent. However, some of the new urbanist communities are using brighter colors on the exteriors of homes.
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  21. #21
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Hmmm. I agree that it’s not a 100% call.

    Listed buildings should only be controlled but, overall, I would think that color choice is considered so “subjective” that it would be difficult to infer or demonstrate a loss of value.

    I agree that, for most people, some sort of suggested guidelines would work well, but you’ll always have some ornery assho!e who thinks electric green is just the thing and actually goes out of his way to p-off the neighbors.
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  22. #22
    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    The only thing that would get me to paint my house some kind of weird color is the gov't telling me I couldn't
    The 2nd from the top of our home buying feature list was "no HOAs", guess we got lucky so far in thinking that low-level, next time will be "no jerk governments". BTW #1 on the list is "not on a road with a painted stripe", which I recommend to everyone.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian KSharpe's avatar
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    Another problem with this is that it's inherently culturally biased. Lots of non-white cultures, such as Latinos, prefer brighter colors for buildings. And they're still Americans.
    Do you want to pet my monkey?

  24. #24
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Historic districts only for government regulations

    HOA (4th level of government as I call it) anywhere else

  25. #25
    Cyburbian DrumLineKid's avatar
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    I may be a planner and may think that I know what is 'right', but I know my opinions are as biased as my neighbors. I have no right to expect his house compliment mine. All the Cities I have worked in had rather strict facade controls within the historic district, and I questioned those. If the historic district has to exemplify 'accurate' color schemes, what era do you choose? I've lived in communities that dated from the mid-1800's to the 1700's. That is a long sample and they didn't have the color choices that have relatively recently been developed. Would someone in 1749 have chosen a bright blue if they had the option? My guess........

    'nough said, I'll only start ranting.....




    DLK
    "There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present and invoke the security of a comfortable past which, in fact, never existed." RFK

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