While her client fights for her right to be kooky in her lawn decoration choices on property that she owns, Florence Fang's attorney Angela Alioto gives us a closer look the Flintstone's House in Hillsborough.
We learned the other week that longtime SF power broker and former Examiner publisher Florence Fang had retained the legal services of the former SF supervisor and recent mayoral candidate in her fight against the town of Hillsborough to keep her whimsical statuary outside the "Flintstone's House" near I-280.
Now Alioto took the Chronicle's Heather Knight on a recent tour of the property, and one big takeaway from the piece is that this isn't even Fang's primary residence, or her only home in Hillsborough. She lives in a bigger house nearby, and bought this property two years ago for $2.8 million as a place to throw parties. As Alioto tells Knight, Fang is "very full of joie de vivre," and the quirky house designed by architect William Nicholson in 1976 is "her happy place. This is her fantasy."
As Alioto further tells the Mercury News in the video below, the house was vacant for two years and it "could've been a real nuisance" had Fang not bought it.
In addition to objecting to the large T-Rex, giraffe, and wooly mammoth sculptures in the back garden, the town of Hillsborough has dinged Fang for making a number of improvements to the property without proper permits — including some staircases through the garden that lack railings.
The Chronicle piece also notes that the whole house is full of whimsy, like with life-size Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figures in a guest bedroom, and lettering in the floor that says "Dance like no one is watching."
Knight, who has been a frequent critic of city politics in her semi-weekly column, takes the side of Fang and Alioto in saying that nobody in the neighborhood can really see the elaborate lawn menagerie around Fang's property — it's simply highly visible from 280. "So what’s the big deal?" Knight concludes. "An eclectic matriarch buys a kooky house and rather than turn it into a boring cookie cutter of a home, preserves the weirdness and makes it even more eye-catching. There was a time in the Bay Area when that would have been reason to celebrate."
The town, meanwhile, says they don't want to set a precedent here that homeowners can simple skirt the permitting process and build or install whatever they like.
Fang herself did not show up to give a tour or provide any quotes, and Alioto previously has said that she and her client plan to "vigorously fight" Hillsborough on this. "This is intolerance and elitist behavior," Alioto said.