Flintstone Home Owner Fights California Town

A California homeowner is probably yelling “Yabba Dabba Do!” since she gets to keep the life-size statue of Fred Flintstone and other tributes to everyone’s favorite Stone Age family on her front lawn.

According to local reports, the owner of the fanciful Flintstones house in a posh San Francisco suburb settled a lawsuit with the town of Hillsborough, allowing her homage to the 1960s cartoon show to stay in place. 

In a dispute for the ages that pitted property rights against government rules that played out in international media, retired publishing mogul Florence Fang defended her colorful, bulbous-shaped house and its elaborate shoutout to “The Flintstones” family, featuring sculptures inspired by the 1960s cartoon, along with aliens and other oddities.

The town, however, called the towering dinosaurs and life-size sculptures of Fred and friends “a highly visible eyesore” and sued Fang, alleging she violated local codes when she put dinosaur sculptures in the backyard and made other landscaping changes that caused local officials to declare it “a public nuisance.”

The controversy began in late 2017 when a code enforcement officer noticed that Fang, the former owner of the Independent and Examiner newspapers, had added the large metal dinosaurs and made other changes to the property.

In addition to the dinos, town officials took issue with a sign that says “Yabba Dabba Doo,” figures of Flintstone characters, a staircase, a parking strip, a deck, and other additions to the home’s front and back yard.

Since Fang’s work involved more than 10,000 square feet on the property, it was determined that she should have sought the planning department’s approval for the changes, according to documents filed with the initial lawsuit from March 2019.

Hillsborough went to court in 2019 after Fang failed to comply with multiple stop-work orders, as well as an order to remove the features around the multimillion-dollar property with its 2,730-square-foot home. Fang counter-sued, claiming she had been discriminated against based on race. At an April 2019 press conference at the Flintstone House, Fang’s attorney Angela Alioto said there are likely other residents who didn’t get permits for their statues or renovations but are not facing the same sort of harassment from the town because they are not Chinese.

“Or is it really about treating Mrs. Fang differently because of her dream and that she’s Chinese and this is Hillsborough?” Alioto said at the time.

The Daily Post in Palo Alto was the first outlet to report the settlement. According to the Post, Mark Hudak, an attorney for Hillsborough, previously said the town prides itself on its rural, woodsy feel, and rules are in place “so neighbors don’t have to look at your version of what you would like to have, and you don’t have to look at theirs.”

According to records, the settlement stipulates that the town will review and approve a survey of the landscaping improvements. In turn, Fang will apply for building permits, which the settlement says must be approved. The town will also pay Fang $125,000, and she will drop the lawsuit — which was dismissed in state court on April 27.

The was no announcement of the settlement at that time because of a gag order that was also part of the settlement.

The settlement agreement states the $125,000 Fang is receiving is “solely to cover expenses incurred by Flintstone related to the lawsuit, and shall not be as a payment related to any claim for discrimination.”

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