Homeowners Stage Toilet Protest Over Homeowners Association

Quite a few homes in the Angus Valley subdivision in Northwest Austin., Texas are sporting a new type of protest yard art.

You could call it Pottygate.

Only a year after the neighborhood association was reorganized, a number of neighbors decided they were fed up with what they considered to be excessive enthusiasm to point out code violations.

Resident Karen Flanagan rounded up dozens of free toilets last March and organized what might be called a "porcelain protest."

Nearly 20 homes in the neighborhood suddenly have added the personalized planters.

Some residents have even doubled up on the porcelain.

"I did check online to make sure this is not a violation of city code," Flanagan said. "It is construction material, but we turned it in to art by making it a planter. I called supply companies. These are all recycled."

It's a sort of silent protest.

Flanagan had heard the neighborhood association was sending out letters to people who didn't have their recreation vehicles behind a fence or when maintenance crews' vehicles were parked on the streets.

Then the situation really overflowed when neighbors found out their violations were being posted on the neighborhood association Web site.

Flanagan said many of the violations -- like lawns not being kept up to standard -- were simply petty.

"It was public information before these people even caught wind of it, and so we thought let's poke fun at them," Flanagan said. "It's just a hoot people come by just dying laughing."

The bowls' "artistic qualities" are keeping them in neighbors' yards.

They just happen to be the yards of neighbors who have found a new way to protest code enforcement.

"After I got my toilet, I realized we need to have something in it, it's art," said resident Stephen Brock.

The neighborhood association president declined requests for an interview Tuesday.

Not all neighbors said they thought it was funny.

"I'm wondering how long it will last and when they are going to get the toilets out of their front yards," Tom Canady said.