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Neighbors In An UP-roar Over House

Hosam Haggag and Fatima Rahman—who live in the Old Quad section of Santa Clara, California—spent two years renovating and painting their home to make it look like the house in the movie Up. They did it for their 3- and 1-year-old daughters, who love the movie, and they say that other children in the neighborhood do, too.

The adults, however, are not so happy. They are upset that the home doesn’t stick to the more traditional Victorian style of the neighborhood. Many of the homes in the Old Quad area are more than 100 years old. The Haggag-Rahman home sits on the oldest street in the city. One resident calls the home “atrocious” and also says it’s, “a gracious old lady and it’s being painted up to look like a clown.”

NBC Bay Area

NBC Bay Area

The couple purchased their 1891 home in 2011. They were told to work with a historical consultant and to give a copy of their renovation plans to the city’s planning department. The Historical Landmarks Commission, which traditionally makes recommendations on renovations, was not consulted, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

The work that Haggag and Rahman did on the house came to head last year when a neighbor who was protesting in front of their home had to be removed by the police. Not long after, Haggag spoke at a town meeting and said, “All we’ve been shown are vitriol, attacks, harassment, and yes, even threats of violence.”

Chuck Petersen, another member of the community, says he has a more moderate take on the unique home.

“I like historical houses to be historical,” he told NBC Bay Area. “But on the other hand, it’s his house and I feel that sometime down the line it’s going to be repainted again anyway.”

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Get lives, neighbors! I understand that you live in a historic neighborhood and you feel that it must look a certain way, but it doesn’t sound like Haggag and Rahman broke any rules. They are not responsible because the Historical Landmarks Commission wasn’t consulted.

There are certain places where you can buy a home and when you do so, you’re buying into their rules and regulations. A friend of mine received a letter when she had let her grass get too long. She was informed that if she didn’t cut the grass, it would be done for her and she would be sent a bill. That seems excessive to me, but that’s what she knowingly signed up for when she bought her home in that subdivision.

If Haggag and Rahman made no attempt to maintain the integrity of the home despite the rules, then that should be addressed. But even if they did not, does that warrant a protest in front of their home and threats?

The city should also address why the Historical Landmarks Commission was not brought in on the renovations so that it doesn’t happen again. Otherwise, leave this family alone. Let them have their Up-style home. They will repaint it eventually—probably when the girls get tired of it.

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What do you think? How would you feel if this house was in your neighborhood? Share your thoughts below.