The elderly owner of the iconic Flintstone House near San Francisco is free to display statues of Fred and Wilma Flintstone, as well as other members of the so-called “modern stone-age family” in her front yard, a California court has ruled.
Back in 2017, former newspaper publisher Florence Fang purchased a 2,700-square-foot home known in Hillsborough, California, as the “Flintstone House” for $2.8 million. Although the concrete domed home was built in 1976 and painted with an array of bright colors in the 1980s, Fang took the Flintstone theme even further and began adding bright sculptures of dinosaurs, mushrooms and a “Yabba Dabba Doo” sign. Some neighbors loved it (the house even has a dedicated Instagram following) but other nearby residents and city officials called it a “public nuisance.”
Following years of back-and-forth about whether the statues could be displayed legally, an April settlement concluded that Fang can keep expanding the Flintstone theme so long as she applies for building permits with the city. Hillsborough has also been ordered to pay Fang $125,000 in exchange for her dropping a countersuit claiming it tried to “intimidate, threaten and coerce” her from decorating her property.
In 2018, a Hillsborough code enforcement panel fined Fang $200 and ordered her to remove the “highly visible eyesore” from the hillside that was visible from a major freeway running through the San Francisco suburb. Fang continued adding sculptures and, in 2019, the town of Hillsborough filed an official lawsuit asking a judge to order their removal. The annoyance to the neighbors, the claim that the statue garden exceeded 10,000 square feet and the fact that they were on a hill and could fall below were all named as potential dangers.
Around the same time, Fang’s battle with the city began getting press coverage and a petition calling on the city to “leave the homeowner alone” gathered more than 30,000 signatures.
“I just wanted my peaceful life,” Fang, who is almost 90 years old and once owned the San Francisco Examiner and AsianWeek, told the Guardian in 2019. “I’m a very, very regular, retired old lady… But of course, a little different.” The Flintstone project was her way, she said, to showcase love of the cartoon while also creating something that neighbors and local kids would enjoy.
The final settlement allows the city to review and approve a survey of Fang’s future landscaping updates. In the meantime Fang will not be forced to alter the current display. A statement concludes that both parties “reached an amicable resolution of the case to the satisfaction of all the parties, such that the improvements made to the Flintstone House will be permitted to remain” but are unable to make further comments.