Home » City Demands Man Hide Boat Behind Fence So Boat Owner Has Photoreal Mural Of Boat Painted On Fence

City Demands Man Hide Boat Behind Fence So Boat Owner Has Photoreal Mural Of Boat Painted On Fence

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You know what I hate? Stupid, arbitrary aesthetic rules in communities about things like what color things need to be painted or how garage doors can’t be open or what vehicles can be parked in a driveway. They’re ridiculous. Like the rule that Seaside, California has about how boats must be hidden by fences. Why? Who decided that a boat was so hideous to look at? Are there really people who can’t handle the sight of a boat? Unless a boat is made from rhino intestines and swastikas, I have trouble seeing how anyone would find one offensive to look at. And yet that was the gist of the letter sent from the city of Seaside to the wonderfully-named home-and-boat-owning Etienne Constable: hide your boat with a fence. So Constable, wanting to abide by the law, did just that, but with a twist: he hired a muralist to paint a realistic mural of his boat right on the fence. Because screw you, city.

The end result is something that feels like perhaps what a glass fence might look like in front of the boat, or, really, no fence at all. It’s glorious. A wonderful monument to the beauty of just the right kind of spite, the best kind of subversive compliance that both meets the requirements of the law while revealing the idiocy of the law itself.

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Constable got the notice that a “coverage screen” was required to hide the hideous nauticality of the boat back in 2023, and built the required fence and driveway, and the mural was just completed this month. As you can guess, a story like this got the attention of local news:

The artist who painted the mural, Hanif Wondir, also shot this fun time-lapse video of the mural being painted:


I’m guessing the mural used a photo reference of the boat park in situ in the driveway to make sure everything looked just right, and the resulting image feels dead-on, even aligning with the real boat’s railings and roll bar behind the fence.

So far, the city has not contacted Constable to comment on the perfectly legal fence or the perfectly legal artwork shown on the fence, and for his part, Constable seems pretty pleased with all the attention his fence has been getting:

“I’m all in favor of generating a discussion and making people smile. The reaction is extremely more than we ever expected and we’re both just tickled about it.”

Really, I hope this little compliance stunt does make people actually really think about the arbitrary nature of what we decide is “aesthetic” or not. Is a plain wooden fence really more appealing to look at than a boat? Why? A fence is boring, and a boat is at least interesting, and a reminder that people sometimes do things for enjoyment. Why is that considered an eyesore? None of this makes sense to me.


This isn’t even an HOA rule, it’s a city-wide rule, which is worse. We know HOAs can tend to be petty and tyrannical for insipid reasons; that sort of crabbed thinking making it to the city level and becoming enshrined into law is just perverse. And I’m not buying any property-devaluing arguments. It’s a boat, not a tire incinerator or a hillock of cattle waste. It’s just a boat. If you can’t bear the sight of a boat that’s not on your property, then I think you need more help than even a fence can provide.

Anyway, good for you, Etienne Constable. Way to stick it to the man.



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Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
14 days ago

This is delightful.

Also, what the heck? Your town is Seaside. Literally SEASIDE. Of course you will have to look at boats SOMEWHERE.

Farty McSprinkles
Farty McSprinkles
15 days ago

I live in a subdivision without HOA rules. We are in a upper middle class neighborhood, and it is in very densely populated suburban area. My neighbor put up a chicken wire fence and put three pigs, 5 dogs, 3 cats, and a camper in his front yard. There has to be a happy medium between the stupidity highlighted in this article and my dumbass neighbor. He also has not mowed in over a year.

Last edited 15 days ago by Farty McSprinkles
15 days ago

I’m not one to put down some passive hostility… So I like this!

Cameron Palm
Cameron Palm
17 days ago

I won’t give him much credit. If his neighbor decided to build a duplex he’d probably be first in line complaining.

16 days ago
Reply to  Cameron Palm

At least you’ve created a scenario in your head which allows you to look down on him. That’s the important thing.

Cameron Palm
Cameron Palm
16 days ago
Reply to  D M

Just experience. Personally I think it is great, but I doubt he has thought through the implications of his frustration. I personally don’t think we should have such laws like he does. But equal to his right to park his boat, should be his neighbors right to build a duplex. But given my experience in zoning meetings… everyone else wants to tell everyone else how to live.

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