Monday, March 18, 2019

Lawsuit against Flintstone House, Florence Fang by Hillsborough over landscaping, statues - by Mary Cummins

flintstone house, florence fang, hillsborough, california, home, house, lawsuit, complaint, mary cummins, real estate

UPDATE: 06/27/2021 Lawsuit was resolved. Case was settled in favor of Fang. The city will pay Fang $125,000. Fang will apply for permits. 

ORIGINAL: June 13, 2019 The demurer was dismissed as moot as the city filed an amended complaint and added defendant Flinstone LLC. Florence Fang filed a cross complaint against the city. It's linked below. When Fang wanted to get a permit for a retaining wall the city instead offered to give her a demolition permit to tear down the entire home. Fang refused such a permit as she had no desire to tear down a home she just bought.

Fang applied for a permit for a retaining wall. When the city came to inspect the inspector against the order of the contractor went into the back yard which can't be seen from the street. The inspector noticed statues. The inspector then made up a regulation that does not exist, i.e. if the area is 10,000 sf or more, it needs a permit. The inspector then state the statues needed permits. The regulations do not state that statues need permits.

Fang contends that the city has discriminated against her because she's Asian. They also told her not to speak at a hearing. Later they stated she didn't speak up for herself at the meeting. I've gone to city meetings and they've told me not to speak. I of course spoke on the record. There's a lot more to this issue. It appears the city of Hillsborough just doesn't like Fang and her home. It does appear to be discrimination and harassment.

April 13, 2019 Fang has filed a cross complaint. There will be a hearing May 24, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. Fang filed a demurer stating she personally is not the owner of the house. Flinstone LLC is the owner of the house as of February 5, 2019 before the lawsuit was filed. I thought it odd they didn't list that owner in the lawsuit. I see it in title. Below is the demurrer.

April 6, 2019 "Fang’s attorney, Angela Alioto, said they expect to file a response to the city’s “public nuisance” lawsuit next week. She also says they plan to file a cross complaint." The City states Fang had a permit for an 18" tall wall in the front of her home. Fang allegedly did not have a permit for the other work she did. Fang's attorney stated they want to tell her what to do with her garden.

March 13, 2019 the town of Hillsborough sued Florence Fang the owner of the Flintstone House. Case is 19-CIV-01442 | TOWN OF HILLSBOROUGH, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION vs. FLORENCE FANG, et al . The town states Florence Fang needed building permits and review of any landscaping and other improvements made to the property. The town states she did not have the permits or review. They sent her a notice to stop any building. Florence Fang allegedly did not stop the improvements. There was a hearing. While Florence Fang attended the commission stated she didn't say anything. I find it hard to believe that Florence Fang wouldn't just get an attorney to appear for her and deal with this. Now the city states her improvements are safety issues and violate the Municipal Code including Section 8.16.035(N), (O), and (P). They also include other codes listed at the bottom of the complaint linked below. I'm sure a real estate attorney can take care of this for Florence Fang (pronounced Fong).

Florence Fang is a philanthropist who started the Florence Fang Asian Community Garden. Florence is an 80 year old Buddhist. Florence lives in an 8,200 sf home at 980 Parrott Dr, Hillsborough, CA 94010. She immigrated to San Francisco in 1960 with her husband John T.C. Fang. He died 1992. She and her husband had a successful printing business and published major newspapers in San Francisco. Together they have three sons, James, Teddy and Douglas. Douglas died 2003. More about her here.

Florence Fang, Hillsborough California
Video interview with Florence Fang talking about her home. It is a fun home which brings joy to people.

In the video she made steps out of just dirt and pavers. I think that's legal as it's just a walkway. She also added cribwall. You don't need permits for cribwall. Florence Fang looks and sounds great for 80.

Here are the Hillsborough code violations listed in the complaint. The codes they listed clearly state you don't need permits for walkways or driveways. The steps leading to the lower yard don't have to be to permit as they aren't the access to the house. You don't need railings for them. Going through this she can make walkways without permits. Statuary is mentioned but it doesn't say you need a permit for it. It says you need a permit to build anything related to the statuary. Are they talking about a cement pad upon which the statue will sit? You can build a cement pad without permits. I did that for a jacuzzi. It appears that they are only talking about removing a lot of dirt in order to make the pad to put the statue. I think the city is suing her just because she ignored them. The only little thing I see which is utter nonsense is fake grass is not allowed to be seen from the street. I hate places that have all these ridiculous rules and regulations. When it's already the Flinstone House what do they expect?

8.16.035 Nuisance property
The following are expressly declared to be public nuisances adversely affecting the public health, peace, safety or welfare and are deemed to be an offense against property:
N. Maintenance of premises in such condition as to be detrimental to the public health, safety or general welfare or in such manner as to constitute a public nuisance;
O. Property maintained in such condition as to become so defective, unsightly or in such condition of deterioration or disrepair that the same causes appreciable diminution of the property values of surrounding properties or is materially detrimental to nearby properties and improvements;
P. Maintenance of premises so out of harmony or conformity with the maintenance standards of adjacent properties as to cause substantial diminution of the enjoyment, use or property value of such adjacent properties;
V. All other acts, occupations, and uses of property, which are nuisances, including, but not limited to, all violations of Title 17.

15.24.030 15.24.030 - Permit—When required.
A. Grading falls into three categories as follows:
Category 2 : Grading of fifty or more cubic yards of material, with a maximum of one thousand five hundred cubic yards to be taken from the site to an off-site location and/or from an off-site location to the site, shall require a grading permit (in addition to any other approvals and/or permits that may be required) as set forth in Section 15.24.040.
15.30.40 Permit—Application and fees.
A. Application for all grading permits shall be filed with the city engineer on the form provided by the town and shall include the following information:
15.30.070 C. If a property owner fails to complete construction by the applicable time limit, the applicable penalties shall accrue daily.
17.56.02017.56.020 - Definitions.
For the purpose of this chapter:

"Landscaping" means any one or combination of the following:

1. Installing or planting trees, shrubs, grass, or ornamental or other vegetation; 2. Installing or constructing decks, fences, walls, arbors, lighting fixtures, statuary, fountains, ponds, or other ornamental structures; 3. Arranging the land and the elements thereon by grading (which includes, but is not limited to, moving, altering, scarifying, excavating, digging, leveling, filling, tunneling, or scraping the natural topography); 4. Removing any tree (which includes, but is not limited to, major surgery to the trunk or major limbs of the tree); 5. Demolishing any swimming pool; 6. Altering or potentially altering drainage or creating or potentially creating a soil erosion problem.

17.56.050 B and E - Landscaping projects subject to review and permitting.
Landscaping projects subject to the review and permit procedures of this chapter are the following:

B. Adding or moving fifty cubic yards or more of dirt or soil. E. Synthetic grass in areas visible from the public right-of-way.

17.56.060 - Design review.
A. Landscaping projects listed in Section 17.56.050 shall require design review approval as set forth in Section 2.12.070. (Landscaping projects listed in Section 17.56.050 require type B design review per Section 2.12.070(A)(2)(c)(viii). Landscaping projects not listed in Section 17.56.050 are not subject to design review at all, per Section 2.12.070(B)(1)(e). B. The applicant shall obtain design review approval of the landscaping plan prior to the issuance of any building permit for the construction, reconstruction, or remodel of any structure being built in connection with the installation of the landscaping.

17.56.070 - Permit(s) for landscaping.
After securing design review approval as set forth in Section 17.56.060, the applicant shall file a written application with the building department to obtain the appropriate permit(s) required for the installation of the landscaping. (Depending on the design of the landscaping, such permits can include building, plumbing, electrical, encroachment, etc.) The application for permit(s) shall be filed on a standard form prepared for that purpose, together with the application fee as set forth from time to time by resolution of the city council. If Section 17.56.040 is applicable to the landscaping plan, the application for permit(s) shall also include an irrigation system plan that provides for efficient use of irrigation by grouping high water use plants together. Approved landscape permits associated with construction projects subject to a building permit are required prior to the granting of a final approval on a construction permit. When a permit for removal is issued the entire tree must be removed to within twelve inches of grade.

15.06.030 Section R105.2, Work exempt from permit—Building—Amended.
        Section R105.2, Work exempt from permit—Building, of the California Residential Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

Building #1. One story detached residential accessory buildings used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses, or similar uses as determined by the City, provided the square footage does not exceed 120 square feet and the structure is built entirely above grade and is not located on a maintenance easement, on a public utilities easement, or on front and side street setbacks as required by the City’s Zoning Code. The structure shall not exceed the height requirements set forth in the City of Wheatland Zoning Code. The eave overhangs shall not extend more than 24 inches beyond the exterior wall of the structure. For fire protection purposes, the structure’s location on the property shall be in compliance with the California Residential Code and the California Building Code, as those codes may be amended from time to time. All construction shall be in compliance with acceptable standards for construction as outlined in the Wheatland Building Code. Detached residential accessory structures on any size of lot or parcel that include electrical and plumbing work shall not be exempt from building permit requirements.

Building #5. Sidewalks and driveways provided they are not part of an accessible path of travel required by the Wheatland Building Code.

Section R114 Stop Work Order

R114.1 Notice to owner or the owner’s authorized agent

Upon notice from the building official that work on any building or structure is being executed contrary to the provisions of this code or in an unsafe and dangerous manner, such work shall be immediately stopped. The stop work order shall be in writing and shall be given to the owner of the property involved, or to the owner’s authorized agent or to the person performing the work and shall state the conditions under which work will be permitted to resume.

R114.2 Unlawful continuance Any person who shall continue any work in or about the structure after having been served with a stop work order, except such work as that person is directed to perform to remove a violation or unsafe condition, shall be subject to penalties as prescribed by law.

Mary Cummins of Animal Advocates is a wildlife rehabilitator licensed by the California Department of Fish and Game. Mary Cummins is also a licensed real estate appraiser in Los Angeles, California.

Mary Cummins, Mary K. Cummins, Mary Katherine Cummins, Mary Cummins-Cobb, Mary, Cummins, Cobb, real estate, appraiser, appraisal, instructor, teacher, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Pasadena, Brentwood, Bel Air, California, licensed, permitted, single family, condo, pud, hud, fannie mae, freddie mac, uspap, certified, residential, certified resident, apartment building, multi-family, commercial, industrial, expert witness, civil, criminal, orea, dre, insurance, bonded, experienced, bilingual, spanish, english, form, 1004, 2055, land, raw, acreage, vacant, insurance, cost, income approach, market analysis, comparative, theory, appraisal theory, cost approach, sales, matched pairs, plot, plat, map, diagram, photo, photographs, photography, rear, front, street, subject, comparable, sold, listed, active, pending, expired, cancelled, listing, mls, multiple listing service, claw, themls,

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