Mom Fights to Air Her Family’s Clean Laundry

Neighborhood association threatening to fine woman for hanging her laundry out to dry


A Montgomery County woman is fighting her housing development for the right to air out her clean laundry.

Patty Pozeynot says she's forbidden to hang laundry out to dry in her Skippack Township, Pa. backyard because her neighbors fear it will bring down property values of their homes.

"I wanna hang out my laundry because I think it's better for our environment, it's the green thing to do," Pozeynot said Tuesday.

The Hunter Ridge development imposes an ordinance barring residents from hanging clothes, even in the backyard. Pozeynot says the rule wasn't put into effect until a year after she moved in and feels it's not fair.

"To me, this doesn't feel wrong," she said. "This rule to me, in particular, seems idiotic."

So for the past three years, the mother-of-two strung a clothesline on her back porch. But recently the neighborhood association threatened to fine her $100 for breaking the rule.

Karen Kelly, another resident, likes the rule and says once you bend a rule for one, others will follow.

"Believe me, I would love to hang my clothes up, um, but you know I bought into this neighborhood knowing that that's not what we're able to do," Kelly said.

Pozeynot put the line away after the threat and even considered moving away because of the flap. But she decided to stay and fight for her kids' sake.

To legally hang her clothes, Pozeynot has to get more than half of her 55 neighbors to sign a petition allowing the variance.

A neighbor behind her family's home was able to get the signatures and proudly hangs their clothes out to dry, but Pozeynot says it's been an uphill battle for her family. So far, she's only gotten 19 of the 38 needed.

"There should be nothing wrong with this," the woman said. She realizes the association's role in the community, but says she just doesn't understand why it's a big deal.

"You change one rule, what's going to be next," Kelly said. "I think if everybody did it, I don't think it would look appealing."

Anti-laundry movements have been taking place all over the country recently.

A Perkasie, Pa. woman fought her neighbors for the right to hang clothes in her front yard this past November. In that case, the town told the woman she could continue since there was no actual ordinance.

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