Complain 'bout the Neighbors

Some Eichler owners take neighborhood issues to the Internet—but does it help?
Complain bout the Neighbors
Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble are all smiles here—but do you think Fred ever wished there was a homeowner association to force Barney and wife Betty to clean up their yard? And when it comes to your own neighborhood complaints, what's the best way to pass on the word to offending neighbors that you'd like them to come around—and be more "neighborly"?
Complain bout the Neighbors
Undoubtedly Eichler owner 'tguptha' would have winced at this scene.
Complain bout the Neighbors
San Mateo realtors chime in: Lana Morin Pierce (left), Glenn Sennett (right).

Do you think Fred and Wilma Flintstone ever wished there was a homeowner association to force Barney and Betty to clean up their yard or take down the Christmas lights in summer?

If not, it's surprising the geniuses at Hanna-Barbera didn't think of it in their spot-on cartoon portrayal of the 'modern Stone Age family' in suburbia. Neighbors who don't maintain their property the way you would like are a major challenge of homeownership, civilization, and liberty itself.

Homeowner associations deal with this in some communities, including a few Eichler tracts like Lucas Valley in San Rafael. In other neighborhoods, more and more, the tension is released as contentious gasses into cyberspace.

"Is the flag really necessary?" queried one contributor to the Eichler Network's Chatterbox Lounge online forum in one of its most popular posts ever. That lively forum thread, which ran several years ago, was kicked off by an Eichler owner who called himself 'tguptha.' He posted a pet-peeve list of complaints about unneighborly behavior, declaring, "Nothing says 'I've given up on my home' more than Christmas lights [in July] and an overgrown yard."

Other items on tguptha's hit list included unconventional paint colors as a "bold artistic statement," large or inoperative vehicles parked in front, "gawdy" fountains or birdbaths, non-authentic siding material, bed sheets or "anything frilly" on windows, and address numbers that "artistically personalize" your Eichler.

"That was a great post," reader Michel Graff replied to tguptha, one of several like-minded entries. "I find it odd that anyone would find this post offensive..."

"People take it to social media," observed Lana Morin Pierce, a former Eichler owner and current real estate agent with Intero Real Estate in San Mateo who has sold several of them. Referencing the Chatterbox Lounge and sites like nextdoor.com, she added, "More people are addressing those sorts of issues on that platform."

Naturally, the influence of homeowner associations was also discussed on tguptha's string.

"The unfortunate part is that not all Eichler areas have these associations," posted Russell Guinan. "In my opinion, they are sorely needed. I love my Eichler."