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Editorial: Absurd Ordinance Would Remove Indoor Furniture From Outdoor Property

This story was written by , Daily Nebraskan

Brace yourself, fellow students, and the sides of your treasured outdoor furniture while you're at it.

Soon you and your friends may have to remove that upholstered couch or chair on your porch, patio or elsewhere outside.

If Lincoln City Councilwoman Robin Eschliman gets her way with the ordinance she introduced last week, you and every other citizen would no longer be allowed to use indoor furniture outside-- outside meaning your porch, balcony, deck, patio, roof, yard, driveway or walkway.

This seems broad and disheartening.

Speaking for the hundreds -- possibly thousands -- of Lincoln, Neb.,college students who currently have furniture on their porches and patios, we won't be the least bit happy if this goes into law.

We like to enjoy the outdoors just as much as anyone else, including you, Eschliman. And while we're out there, we like to relax ... on our couches and chairs.

The backers of this ordinance consider outdoor furniture to be eyesores. Maybe these supporters enjoy the sight of flowers and other garden decorations. That's just dandy. Some of us do, too. But we also like to hang out outside --while sitting on our upholstered furniture on our properties.

Take that away, and you take away a special social opportunity from us and many other residents throughout the city.

We understand why you wouldn't want mattresses covering most places outside, but don't eliminate our seating for the sake of your personal preference of what you think the exteriors of houses should look like.

What happens if residents don't comply with the proposed housing code?

Well, expect to be slapped with violation fees of $200 forthe first offense, $250 for the next and $300 for the third, plus a maximum of six months behind bars. The most they can take from you at one time would be $500.

Who's to blame for the absurd and overreaching ordinance that seems to infringe property rights?

Blame the group of neighborhood activists, Realtors and landlords known as the Lincoln Policy Network who persuaded Eschliman to sponsor the ordinance.

Blame Eschliman, too. She isn't far removed from the community in which these people work. In fact, she may know some of these folks pretty darn well; for more than 15 years, she has been an officer or a director for three neighborhood associations.

Eschliman and other supporters of the ordinance might be able to smile if this goes through, but a lot more people will be upset.

The proposed ban wouldn't apply to porches completely enclosed. But that's not helpful to the many people in this situation who favor keeping indoor furniture on their outdoor property.

Let's be reasonable here, City Council. Reconsider this ordinance, and think of us while you do.

Let us keep our couches and chairs.

We're all for making the community look pretty.

Couches and chairs are pretty, too, especially when they're occupied by our college buddies.

You may not think so, but we do. And we're the community -- the Lincoln residents -- who will be affected by this absurd ordinance.

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