Yabba dabba deal! California town settles suit over Flintstones house

The owner of a controversial Flintstones-themed house has settled a lawsuit with the town of Hillsborough, in the San Francisco suburbs, which alleged she violated local codes when she put dinosaur sculptures in the back yard and made other landscaping changes that caused local officials to declare a public nuisance.

The agreement will allow Fred Flintstone – whose catchphrase was “Yabba dabba do!” – and his friends to remain.

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

Speaking to the Guardian in 2019, Fang said: “I wanted to decorate with the past and the future combined together in harmony. I call that ‘over the rainbow’.”

She also said: “I’m just a tired old lady. I just wanted my peaceful life. I’m a very, very regular, retired old lady. But of course, a little different. I have all kinds of dreams.”

Fang’s house was built by William Nicholson, an architect, in 1976. Nonetheless the town called the sculptural realisations of Fang’s dreams “a highly visible eyesore” – and sued.

An attorney for the town said residents were required to get a permit before installing sculptures, regardless of the theme.

Figurines of Barney and Betty Rubble stand outside the house in Hillsborough, California.
Figurines of Barney and Betty Rubble stand outside the house in Hillsborough, California. Photograph: Eric Risberg/AP

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-sq-ft home.

Fang counter-sued.

The Daily Post in Palo Alto first reported news of the settlement on Thursday.

Mark Hudak, an attorney for Hillsborough, previously said the town prided itself on its rural, woodsy feel and rules were 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 legal records, the settlement stipulates that the town will review and approve a survey of landscaping improvements. In turn, Fang will apply for building permits. The town will pay Fang $125,000 and she will drop the lawsuit – which was dismissed in state court on 27 April.


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