Update: In response to requests for comment about the litigation, 45 Berryessa owner Florence Fang forwarded a letter to Curbed SF stating, in part:
I thank the many Hillsborough residents who have shown their support, as well as thousands of local, national and worldwide supporters. [...] All your supportive comments [...] made me realize that I am not the only one fighting for the legendary Flintstones. It is truly an American memory that makes people smile and feel good about themselves. Let’s keep Fred and the Dino alive and work together to keep on smiling. I will fight the best I can.
Note that the letter is dated March 3, before Hillsborough officially brought suit against Fang.
In an early favorite for most unlikely real estate news event of the year, the town of Hillsborough has filed suit against publisher Florence Fang, owner of the famous “Flintstone House” at 45 Berryessa Avenue, over her modern Stone Age taste in landscaping.
According to a complaint filed in San Mateo Superior Court last week, Fang has made multiple additions to the property that have put the city in a Yabba Dabba Don’t sort of mood, including:
Beginning in early 2017, Ms. Fang began to install extensive improvements in the yard areas of 45 Berryessa. Some of these improvements involved large statues of dinosaurs and other figures and a sign reading “Yabba Dabba Doo.”
She also made non-decorative additions to the property, including a retaining wall, steps, columns, gates, a parking strip, and a deck. [...] Several of the improvements created life safety hazards that require immediate correction.
[...] Ms. Fang installed all of the improvements without planning approvals and without building permits.
City attorneys say that Fang ignored multiple stop-work orders issued since late 2017. The lawsuit also notes that the city fined Fang $200 in 2018 for what it calls “a highly visible eyesore” on the property.
With Fang flouting city orders numerous times, Hillsborough now wants a court to order the removal or reversal of alterations to the property.
Fang bought 45 Berryessa in 2017 for $2.8 million. The bulbous Berryessa home had lingered on the market for two years and had its price chiseled down from $4.2 million.
The real irony here is that, as Curbed SF noted in the past, the “Flintstone House” was not originally intended to resemble that Hanna-Barbera show’s cartoon architecture.
When architect William Nicholson built the place in 1976, the concept was to create a home entirely out of curves, using metal frames molded around balloons.
When painted white, the property resembles a series of otherworldly bubbles on the landscape. Only later, when repainted to its present orange and purple hues, did the kinship to the town of Bedrock emerge, and the nickname has stuck ever since.
Sean Fang, grandson of Florence Fang, told the San Mateo Daily Journal, “I think the dinosaurs are beautiful. They make everyone smile and should stay.”
Fang plans on fighting the lawsuit.