Clotheslines Banned at Senior Public Housing in Greenwich, Connecticut Due to "Liability"

by Katy on July 25, 2009 · 9 comments


How many times has this happened to you? You’re in your backyard minding your own business when suddenly you’re guillotined by your clothesline?

What . . . never? Then I guess you’re lucky to have dodged this oh-so common bullet.

Greenwich, Connecticut has enacted a clothesline ban for their senior public housing due to this very safety concern.

“At night, it’s very dark over there. You can’t see anything,” said Anthony Johnson, the Housing Authority’s executive director. “If somebody’s running through there, they could really get clothes-lined, football clothes-lined. It wouldn’t be a pretty thing.”

The Right to Dry movement has stalled in image-concerned Connecticut:

“Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a Greenwich resident, said he is solidly behind the effort to pass a “right to dry” law and will push the bill during the next legislative session. The bill stalled due to opposition from condominium associations that were concerned about aesthetics of clotheslines.”

” ‘Well, everyone should be entitled to dry their laundry outside as a cost-saving measure and as an energy-saving measure, which also happens to be great for the environment,’ Blumenthal said.”

Call me a dreamer, but if it’s so dark out there, perhaps an outdoor light would come in handy. And seniors running in the dark through the communal clothesline area? Now that’s an image!

Click here to read all the juicy dry details.

Want to know more about the Right to Dry movement? Make sure to check out Project Laundry List.

Want to write to the Connecticut Public Housing Executive Director? (Sorry, I couldn’t find an e-mail address.)

Anthony Johnson

Executive Director, Public Housing Authority

249 Milbank Avenue

Greenwich, CT 06830

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Angela July 25, 2009 at 11:28 am

I know it sounds crazy, but I have to play a slight devil’s advocate. I’ve been around old people with Alzheimer’s, and they manage to get themselves tangled around objects in very creative ways. They’re a danger to themselves even without props!


Maniacal Mommy July 25, 2009 at 1:45 pm

I can’t believe that some people get offended by clotheslines! How do we get so preoccupied with appearances that we lose sight of what really matters, such as tradition and conservation? To focus on the senior citizens, who tend to both have the tradition part down and limited incomes to boot, is just cruel.

I live in a rather rural area, and clotheslines are very common. There is nothing so soothing as to watch your clothes and sheets flap in the breeze on a sunny day. Many people have commented on how nice it is to see my cloth diapers drying on the line (usually when they are buying my homegrown strawberries).

My grandma taught me the proper way to hang clothes out, just as she taught me to can my vegetables and make jam. She was horrified when she learned about these bans. And in a time of recession no less?

Thank you for the update on the Right To Dry!


NMPatricia July 25, 2009 at 3:08 pm

You just have to laugh a bit at stories like these!


Kristin @ klingtocash July 25, 2009 at 9:21 pm

As a resident of the state of Connecticut, this does not surprise me at all. I would imagine that the excuse they are using is not really the reason. Many areas of Connecticut are very focused on the aesthetics of clothes lines. We have also had issues in the past with utility companies wanting to build wind power generators, only to be turned down because they would be an eyesore. In Connecticut, we are very “not in my backyard”. It’s so sad.


Mary Anne July 26, 2009 at 11:32 am

My 85 yr old mother has been an avid outdoor clothes dryer for as long as I can remember. However, that line has always gone up on washday and comes down the same day. Those lines that stay outside develop a certain ripeness, not to mention bird droppings….. if left out all the time.


BarbG July 26, 2009 at 2:55 pm

Right. Senior citizens “running through there” at night. I see seniors running amok all the time. *sigh*
Silly, silly, silly.

This bothers me a lot because I am banned from hanging clothes outside because I live in strata. I keep a large indoor rack. It takes up a lot of space and is a nuisance but I just can’t make myself beleive that drying in a dryer is a good thing.


Jeanine July 27, 2009 at 2:11 pm

They’ve been outlawed in public housing here for a while, and not even for the way they look.

Stupid people kept getting arrested for stealing clothing off the residents lines.

Go freaking figure.


Horizons at Wawayanda September 14, 2009 at 9:17 am

I agree with having different standard for a senior living community, than a typical neighborhood. These communities are created with seniors in mind and certain safety standards should be kept, but I do not agree with going as far as banning clotheslines. You have to draw ‘a line’ somewhere.


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