• Kate

Between a Fence and a Hard Place

Some of you have asked about where we stand with the fence, and, well, it's not going great. I promise we will show you all sorts of demolition soon (I mean, we may have a little bit of aggression to deal with here). But first, the fence and the city planning commission.

Our initial request was denied. Not because of safety issues or even being in violation of the zoning laws, mind you. We were in accordance with this law, "On a corner lot, a fence located in a required exterior side yard shall not exceed the height of three (3) feet measured from grade; except when adequate vision clearance exists, the Planning Director may permit a fence up to six (6) feet in height."

We were told "the 6’ fence as you proposed would not affect vision clearance from your driveway or the intersection. The Director’s consideration was the pedestrian/public experience in your neighborhood, and the precedent an exception in your case would set for the neighborhood."

Oh, okay, so it's an aesthetic issue, then. And this means there are no other fences in our neighborhood with the same layout we requested, right? I mean, setting a precedent means we would have to be the first. But wait, what about these two homes that are within four blocks of our house?

So, we asked that very question with these two photos attached, as well as addresses of five other homes with similar fences. We believed we made our case, since we also included the fence will be made of cedar, be quite stylish, and have cap lights to aid in nightly walking. Hence, it will be aesthetically pleasing. All should be good, right?

That was two weeks ago. Our fence builder was scheduled to come tomorrow. Today, we received another email that the original decision for denial had not changed, because "Other examples of higher fences in the side yard in your neighborhood enclose only the backyard space, and do not enclose the side of the house up to the property line.  There are numerous examples of this circumstance in the blocks around your house, and the Director’s decision is in keeping with this precedence.  A consideration of the Planning Department is the public experience in the right-of-way and the type of community and neighborhood that gets created when that typical experience changes."

Did they even look at the photos? Do those look like backyards to you? Also, what type of community and neighborhood would my 6-foot fence--that keeps people from wandering up to our windows--create?

To say we are disappointed would be a massive understatement. To say we are done fighting would be foolish. We have asked for a face-to-face meeting with the director in our home. We want her to sit in front of our dining room window and explain to us how it benefits the neighborhood to watch us eat dinner. We want her to see the abandoned house across the street that is rifled with graffiti (and has already had squatters) tell us how a fence would hurt the community.

We have tried so hard to do things by the book, and are only asking that the people in charge would do the same.

{end rant. more demo and happy remodeling soon. promise.}

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