Man ordered by city to build fence around his boat... then he painted the boat on the fence

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By James Kay

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A man found himself at the mercy of the local council and was ordered to build a fence around his boat... but he got his own back in an ingenious way.

When you buy a house in certain neighborhoods, you'll find that you can't alter it without the permission of the Home Owner's Association (HOA) or the local council.

This arrangement works for some people so the area is kept uniform and doesn't change much, while others absolutely despise it.

When buying a house, it's always best to check the local codes about what you can and can't have, otherwise, you'll have an angry neighbor banging on your door when you dare do something to your own property.

GettyImages-1453543758.jpgJust because you own a property, you still need to comply with local rules. Credit: Jackyenjoyphotography/Getty

One man has gone toe to toe with his local council, and he definitely won.

Seaside resident Etienne Constable was told in July 2023 that he needed to erect a cover to obscure his boat on his drive after his neighbors complained. If he failed to do so, he faced a $100 fine.

Municipal codes state that "boats and large pickup campers, motor homes, recreational vehicles, utility trailers, and vacation trailers" can only be parked on driveways if "screened on the side and front by a six-foot-high fence."

Constable complied but added his own creative twist by painting a photo-realistic mural of the boat on the front of the screen.

"I'm not a rule-breaker, but I like to make a political statement as necessary as well as a humorous statement and a creative statement," Constable told KSBW.


Constable explained that he frequently uses his boat - named Might as Well - for fishing, and had kept it parked in the driveway for four years without receiving any complaints.

"I thought, 'This is ridiculous,' and my first reaction was to leave a nasty, nasty message at the city hall," he added in an interview with the Washington Post.

"And then I thought, well, I might as well build a screen … I'll do what they want, but I'm not going to do it their way."

Images of the artwork, created by Constable's neighbor Hanif Panni, soon went viral, much to Constable's surprise.

"The reaction is extremely more than we ever expected and we're both just tickled about it," he said.

Constable said the fence cost a few hundred dollars to erect, and he then paid Panni for his skills.

Panni, who has murals across the central coast, saw the painting as an opportunity to stoke debate on what constitutes art.


"I'm a big proponent of public art in spaces," Panni said. "It engages people in ways that reaching out and having conversations doesn't sometimes."

The artist has since been inundated with requests from other neighbors to paint similar murals at their properties.

Constable confirmed he has not heard anything from Seaside officials but assumes they are aware.

"It's not like I'm hiding anything," he added.

There's nothing quite like malicious compliance.

Featured image credit: Jackyenjoyphotography/Getty

Man ordered by city to build fence around his boat... then he painted the boat on the fence

vt-author-image

By James Kay

Article saved!Article saved!

A man found himself at the mercy of the local council and was ordered to build a fence around his boat... but he got his own back in an ingenious way.

When you buy a house in certain neighborhoods, you'll find that you can't alter it without the permission of the Home Owner's Association (HOA) or the local council.

This arrangement works for some people so the area is kept uniform and doesn't change much, while others absolutely despise it.

When buying a house, it's always best to check the local codes about what you can and can't have, otherwise, you'll have an angry neighbor banging on your door when you dare do something to your own property.

GettyImages-1453543758.jpgJust because you own a property, you still need to comply with local rules. Credit: Jackyenjoyphotography/Getty

One man has gone toe to toe with his local council, and he definitely won.

Seaside resident Etienne Constable was told in July 2023 that he needed to erect a cover to obscure his boat on his drive after his neighbors complained. If he failed to do so, he faced a $100 fine.

Municipal codes state that "boats and large pickup campers, motor homes, recreational vehicles, utility trailers, and vacation trailers" can only be parked on driveways if "screened on the side and front by a six-foot-high fence."

Constable complied but added his own creative twist by painting a photo-realistic mural of the boat on the front of the screen.

"I'm not a rule-breaker, but I like to make a political statement as necessary as well as a humorous statement and a creative statement," Constable told KSBW.


Constable explained that he frequently uses his boat - named Might as Well - for fishing, and had kept it parked in the driveway for four years without receiving any complaints.

"I thought, 'This is ridiculous,' and my first reaction was to leave a nasty, nasty message at the city hall," he added in an interview with the Washington Post.

"And then I thought, well, I might as well build a screen … I'll do what they want, but I'm not going to do it their way."

Images of the artwork, created by Constable's neighbor Hanif Panni, soon went viral, much to Constable's surprise.

"The reaction is extremely more than we ever expected and we're both just tickled about it," he said.

Constable said the fence cost a few hundred dollars to erect, and he then paid Panni for his skills.

Panni, who has murals across the central coast, saw the painting as an opportunity to stoke debate on what constitutes art.


"I'm a big proponent of public art in spaces," Panni said. "It engages people in ways that reaching out and having conversations doesn't sometimes."

The artist has since been inundated with requests from other neighbors to paint similar murals at their properties.

Constable confirmed he has not heard anything from Seaside officials but assumes they are aware.

"It's not like I'm hiding anything," he added.

There's nothing quite like malicious compliance.

Featured image credit: Jackyenjoyphotography/Getty