Town files lawsuit against famous Flintstone House owner

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Town files lawsuit against famous Flintstone House owner

The back of the Flintstone House can be seen from Interstate 280.

The back of the Flintstone House can be seen from Interstate 280.

Jonathan Blecha ’21

The back of the Flintstone House can be seen from Interstate 280.

Jonathan Blecha ’21

Jonathan Blecha ’21

The back of the Flintstone House can be seen from Interstate 280.

JJ Trujeque ’21, Staff Writer

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In March of 2019, the town of Hillsborough led a lawsuit against Florence Fang, the owner of the house commonly referred to as the “Flintstone House,” because of alleged landscaping renovations that she did not have the permits for. However, Fang denies those allegations and has led a counterclaim.

The home was designed using an advanced building method, monolithic dome construction, in 1976 by architect William Nicholson and originally had a white color. It was in the mid-1980s that the home rst disturbed locals when it began to show signs of severe damage with deep cracks growing in the walls. Eventually in 1987, the dome house was resurrected when a change in ownership gave way to profound renovations and a new orange coat of paint.

After several other changes in ownership, the iconic home was purchased by Fang two years ago for $2.8 million. The newly renovated backyard of the home includes: multiple 15- foot dinosaurs, a metal wooly mammoth, a metal giraffe, a UFO surrounded by extraterrestrial life, and numerous vibrant mushrooms scattered around the entire property.

In an email to The Crusader, Hillsborough City Manager Ann E. Ritzma said, “Due to litigation, Town personnel have no public statements regarding the issue.”

Ritzma included a news release from the Town of Hillsborough, which read in part, “The property owner has constructed a large project without design review or first applying for required building permits. The Town of Hillsborough is committed to requiring that everyone follow the same long-established and fair planning and permit procedures. The Town’s goal is to balance individual taste with consistent community standards, as is true in most well managed communities.”

In a phone interview with The Crusader, Fang’s attorney, Angela Alioto, said there is no required permit for statues. “Can you imagine if there was? No one would have statues in their yards—not even St. Francis. This is merely a matter of harassment.”

Alioto added that the dinosaurs and other characters can only be seen from Interstate 280; neighbors cannot see them from the front of the house.

“She has a First Amendment right to put whatever she wants in her yard. It’s a Constitutional right, and we’re fighting back,” Alioto said.

In addition, Alioto said, “We believe it’s based on the fact that she is Chinese.”

According to the news release from the Town of Hillsborough, “The allegations of discrimination are baseless. The property owner has been treated with patience and respect by Town employees at every stage. The current legal action is the result of the property owner’s own unpermitted activities. Every Hillsborough resident would be treated in the same way,” said Assistant City Attorney Mark Hudak.

Driving down I-280 it is fairly easy to spot the peculiar home, and for some Bay Area natives it may be reminiscent of childhood car trips.

Michael Vezzali-Pascual ’88, Senior Composition and Literature teacher, said, “I first saw it when I was five or six years old coming back up from the freeway. My grandparents lived in San Jose. I remember my brother and I getting a big kick out of it driving back up. We thought it was something from outer space, like the moon. We were just fascinated and it captured our imagination.”

Richard Sylvester ’01, World Literature teacher, said, “I could see why someone might complain about the construction of putting them (dinosaur statues) up and maybe that might be a nuisance, but I’d have to see what their yards look like and what their view is. I might think it’s kind of cool, especially if I had kids.”

This is the kind of imagination that Fang envisioned, Alioto said. “It’s wonderful that someone is willing to spend money to make other people smile.”