and Video Courtesy of FOX 13 News Tampa
Published May 16, 2020
VENICE - Venice resident Denise Wuetcher loves the
Florida sunshine, especially when it comes to drying her laundry.
"The fresh air makes the clothes smell great. It’s
just a wonderful thing to do and it's also helping the environment," she
told FOX 13 News.
In 2018, she submitted paperwork to the Verona Reserve Homeowners
Association for approval to install a clothesline, which is actually
protected by Florida law.
“You're allowed to basically place a solar panel or line dryer in the
place where it’s most efficient, where you can make the most use of the
sun," explained Wuetcher's lawyer, James Potts Sr.
Wuetcher believes that place on her property is a specific spot in her
"In the morning, the sun is in that spot, but it’s not closer to the
house. The other thing is, if I put it too close to the house, sheets or
towels will rub up against the lanai screen and get dirty," she said.
Per Florida law, the HOA approved the request to install the line, but
then rescinded it.
The location of the clothesline -- the perfect, sunny spot in Wuetcher's
backyard -- is visible from the road, which the HOA does not like.
"In February of 2019, I got a violation letter saying, 'You didn't do
what you were supposed to do. We can see it from the street. You have to
move it,'" Denise recalled.
From then on, she was fined $100 a day.
Records show the fines accumulated up to the maximum allowed, $2,500.
Wuetcher filed a lawsuit against the HOA, arguing she's not breaking a
"[The HOA] have not properly referenced, or put us on notice, precisely
which covenant or which bylaw we have broken," said Potts.
Now, the HOA is trying to raise funds to file a counterclaim against
Wuetcher, calling her out by name in paperwork delivered to every Verona
"For lack of a better term, I think it's a hit piece," said Potts. "They
are trying to make her as unpopular as they possibly can in order to
accomplish their objectives."
Two years into the legal battle, Wuetcher said she isn't about to give
"I feel it's important to not let them run over us. If I don't stand up
for this, what's the next thing they are going to do?" she asked.
Lighthouse Property Management operates the Verona Reserve Homeowners
Association. FOX 13 has reached out to them multiple times for comment
and received no comment.