Service of Did You Know That When You Bought or Rented It?

July 9th, 2018

Categories: Bans, Co-ops, Restrictions, Rules

1966 Ford pickup. Photo:

I once rented a glorious apartment with a view of the East River and Manhattan out the kitchen window; a working fireplace; large living and dining rooms; two bedrooms and a skylight in one of the bathrooms. I soon discovered it had a serious paucity of electric plugs and closets so shallow that when we closed the doors one shoulder of every jacket was crushed and wrinkled.

I was so taken by the rest of the place that I paid no attention to these flaws.


Some NYC co-ops don’t permit washing machines in apartments which could be a deal-breaker if you have young children. Suburban communities often don’t allow people to hang laundry outdoors which if this is important to you, you want to know before moving in.

The subject of Douglas Belkin’s Wall Street Journal article, Luke Lambert, soon discovered that he wasn’t allowed to park his pickup truck outside–in his driveway or on the street–when he moved to Flossmore, Ill. The ban, which caused the man’s dad to borrow a sedan to visit him from Wisconsin because he got a ticket when he parked his pickup in his son’s driveway on his first visit, is one of many restrictions in this Chicago suburb.  Aboveground pools, dog leashes longer than 8 feet or grass taller than five inches are also prohibited. Residents have 24 hours to hide garbage cans after pickup.

The outlawed pickups must be stored in a garage but Lambert’s 1966 Ford was too big to fit so he parked it at his grandmother in laws’ house 10 miles away. Flossmore citizens think that theirs may be the last American community with such a residential restriction and Lambert wants to reverse it. Currently pickups are allowed outside of businesses and in church parking lots and for a few minutes outside homes to unload contents.

Lambert built a Facebook page in his effort and collected 300 signatures. The opposition suggested that people “Build a bigger garage or buy a smaller truck and park it in your current garage. No one who is not using it for business ‘needs’ a giant truck.”

According to Belkin, after a fall referendum, the trustees will make their decision. The mayor can’t predict the outcome and thinks it will be close.

Have you ever moved somewhere only to learn too late about problematic, inconvenient imperfections or rules? Do you think the conservatives in Flossmore are out of step or that Lambert should leave well enough alone?


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8 Responses to “Service of Did You Know That When You Bought or Rented It?”

  1. ASK Said:

    Not too sympathetic to the pick-up truck brigade…a former neighbor got only 7 miles to a gallon of gas with his and he used it almost exclusuvely to attend blue-grass festivals or the local bowling alley. But he parked it where no one could see it.
    Sounds like Dad is proud of the ’66 clunker. No mention if he has another vehicle or if the truck urges folks to eat Wisconsin cheddar or shop at the local lumber yard…Some of these chi-chi suburbs have way too many rules, all in the name of “property values.” But I would probably agree that the pickup is a real eyesore.

    By the way, if everyone is so concerned about climate change and the environment, why are car manufacturers making and selling so many more SUVs and pickups?

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    The protester’s Dad must not have had another vehicle as he had to borrow a car to visit Flossmore but his son, who lived in Flossmore, bought the vintage car to work on and spiff up so he clearly was using another vehicle to get around.

    I suspect that those who buy SUVs and oversized pickups, [some seem to be of a more reasonable size], do not believe in climate change and can’t envision a time in which we will run out of fuel. Imagine the sense of power they feel driving way up high in something so big! The environment is the last thing on their minds and manufacturers, whose clean air regulations under the present administration will no doubt shrink, are happy to sell what the traffic will bear.

  3. Hank Goldman Said:

    Unfair rules? Unintended consequences of those rules?
    How about separating families at the border? Was that a rule that anyone thought out to the end, or the consequences?

    Most co-op boards think they may be a heavenly being… They make rules sometimes just to be mean! At least that’s what it seems like!

    Great question that you bring up… I think you will find this in almost any cooperation , Building, organization, community, any aspect of life… You can either fight “ City Hall“ or lay down and take it!

    Wish I had a good answer for all situations, but I don’t, thank you so much for bringing up this great topic though.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I have lived mostly in rental apartments and co-ops. The co-op rules are often arbitrary and depending on the perceived importance of the cooperator who wants to break them–i.e. wealth and standing–they often are bent. But who has the energy and time to fight all the time?

    As for separating families at the border, I have been haunted by something, in addition to the horrific implications for us all when our leaders allow such a dastardly, unfeeling thing to happen to helpless children. I recently finished a book by Corrie Ten Boom, “The Hiding Place,” in which this Dutch watchmaker described her family’s harboring of Jews and young men escaping conscription by the Nazis and her subsequent incarceration in concentration camps. After forced marches and several changes of camps she is inexplicably let go. When she is, she is given back some personal belongings that the Nazis had taken from her when she was first captured. I ask: How, during such tumultuous times, could the Nazis have kept track of a memento from her mother and a few other small things of one of millions of captives when today, with computers, blood tests, DNA etc., we can’t keep track of CHILDREN and their PARENTS? The rule is as much of an unforgivable disgrace as its implementation.

  5. Protius Said:

    My wife and I once bought from a most distinguished, powerful figure in conservation circles and his wife, the granddaughter of a 19th century Wall Street tycoon, a beautiful piece of land contiguous to their own large estate. It was a “friendly” transaction involving neither real estate agents nor lawyers.

    To my astonishment after buying the property, I discovered after looking at topographical maps, that the land, which was heavily forested to the west, was situated along the crown of a ridge potentially offering magnificent views in that direction out over the Hudson and the Catskills. In theory, all I had to do to have this view was cut down trees; however most of these grew, as they had for centuries, on the seller’s estate and he, of course, loved his trees. However, to try to accommodate me, he personally went out and cut (at age 85!) a 15 foot gap through the trees with a chain saw. This did indeed confirm that the view was there, but the gap was far too narrow to be of much use in providing any house with much in the way of window views.

    We were stymied, and I was beginning to have misgivings about how I was behaving, but none the less, we next hired an architect to design a tower, the top floor of which would be our the living room. Before thinking to check local zoning laws, he charged ahead with an hugely expensive design for a very ugly building only to discover that, thanks to our seller’s efforts to stop ugly buildings from being built, the town had strict building height restrictions and that exceptions were not made.

    Poorer, but wiser, and thoroughly ashamed of myself, we stopped. A few years later, the seller, now in his 90’s, repurchased the land from us at a very generous price, again without benefit of lawyers or agents. He told us he had just sold one of his Frederick Church’s, and was why he had the cash to buy it back. Some story.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    What a story, Protius!

    I assume you’d improved the property for it to have increased in value beyond the skinny view of the mountain and river.

    I could use a handy and beneficent neighbor like this one!

    Glad he found a buyer for the Frederick Church, not a favorite style of mine.

  7. Lucrezia Said:

    Before investing in a community, such as Flossmore, it pays to acquaint oneself with its rules and regulations. Flossmore will probably win any legal battle pertaining to its rules, unless they were kept a secret.

    It sounds like a godawful place to live. Too bad that buyer didn’t pay attention to the fine print!

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:


    When I lived on Minot Air Force Base–as I’ve mentioned in previous posts and comments–a rule in base housing was that grass would be cut weekly in summer. We hired a neighbor’s kid whose dad had a mower–we didn’t.

    A colonel who was a pilot lived a few blocks away. His wife was almost 9 months pregnant when he was called out on back-to-back missions. He mowed the grass at their place. Their grass missed a week and he was reprimanded and fined. With a baby on the way, a squadron to run and his work to focus on the grass was the last thing on his mind.

    At the time I thought it was nuts and still do. I understand the rule: They couldn’t have the base look like tobacco road. But there didn’t seem to be contingencies for what happens in that kind of life. I don’t know if there are such rules on bases today.

    In civilian communities, it would be troublesome if neighbors used their yards as garbage dumps so having some rules to protect neighbors from people who go overboard in one or another way is crucial. But in Flossmore, the police seem to be called the instant a pickup truck is parked outside in a residential area and the owner gets a summons. There’s no flexibility there.

    On my country road–as I’ve griped before–I wish that giant garbage cans were put away once emptied so I don’t have to drive by them. Plastic doesn’t complement the countryside. Many of the houses hide the cans in wooden sheds and some do as we do: We bring our garbage to the transfer station so no can is ever left out on the road. I may be the only person to notice or care.

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