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Thread: AP News: California man's fence gets him jail time

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    AP News: California man's fence gets him jail time

    From the AP Wire Top News:
    http://www.newsday.com/news/nationwo...,2224130.story

    HIGHLIGHTS:
    A judge has sentenced a man to six months in jail for violating city zoning laws...
    ...told in court months ago that he faced jail time if he didn't either get permits for the 180-foot-long fence or tear it down. He did neither and was sentenced ...
    QUESTIONS:
    1 - Does your fair community require a permit for a fence ? No
    Did not mention if height was one of the violations, but it appears location of the fence was part of his troubles. My fair city code requires backyard fence heights to be 6 ft. and on/set off from the property line and out of easements.

    2 - Do you think 6 months is excessive for such "crime" ? Yes


    Orginal Article:http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...la-home-center
    Last edited by JNA; 29 Aug 2007 at 1:56 PM.
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  2. #2
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    I'm currently working with a citizens committee to establish a fence ordinance in my city. They are a real problem in some parts here, for several reasons. That being said, I think jail time is absurd. Fines are probably the best punishment for a violation.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Another story about a fence...

    Little League dad says he'll lower fences on his Danville field

    DANVILLE - A Danville man who built a backyard baseball field for his son's Little League team said today that he plans to try to save the park, even though the city's planning commission has voted to deny permits and ordered it removed.

    David Lowe said he was directing workers to reduce the 14-foot height of the fence around the field to 6 feet, in the hope he could soothe his neighbors' fury.

    "The planning commission was tough but fair," Lowe said. "It left the door open. I want to work with them to get this done properly."

    The commission voted 7-0 Tuesday to deny permits that Lowe filed retroactively, after building the ballyard on his property on a ridgeline next to his home. The panel said he has 10 days to appeal the decision to the Town Council.

    Neighbors called the ballpark an eyesore that blocks views and said its high fences and retaining wall make it look like a prison. It was unclear whether the lowered fences would reduce neighborhood opposition.
    http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cg.../BARBRRJJJ.DTL

    Some people have too much money and too much time on their hands.
    Annoyingly insensitive

  4. #4
    Cyburbian estromberg's avatar
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    I could see the jail time for Contempt of Court, which is usually what people are sentenced with for continued non compliance with zoning laws.

    I work for a County zoning dept., where fences are only regulated by height, and don't require a permit. Most of the municipalities in the County require a permit for a fence and have much more stringent regulations.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    We require a building permit for any fence over 6 feet high. And if a building permit is needed for something it can't be in the required yards (setbacks).

    Six months is absurd, but there may be factors the article is not reporting.

    In my experience when an article shows something as silly as this, there usually is some key fact or facts that make the whole thing make sense (in a fashion) but these facts are missing from the story. Usually, but not always.

  6. #6
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    I think its about time the courts took zoning seriously!

  7. #7
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Jail time is unecessary. Give him a larger fine and it not paid that fence still not removed, have the local jurisdiction remove it and add the cost to the next tax bill.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    I agree with Mendelman, increase fines and other options. Jail time just means he gets a free ride on taxpayers. If he's paying fines per diem to cover all his expenses in the slammer... Well then I don't have a problem, seems a bit excessive though! LOL I think fines are the way to go. And if no action just let them roll up and put a lien on his house. The City will get the money eventually!

  9. #9
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    The community I work for does not require permits for walls 6' and less, unless they are retaining and requiring engineering. Plus, inspections on the footings are much more important in those types of situations.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian RandomPlanner's avatar
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    One community here allows non-opaque fences 4' tall. So they've constantly got people applying for Use Variances for an opaque fence or one that's too tall. I'm not sure that a use variance is appropriate, but hey... if that's what their law says...

    As for going to jail over it, I agree that it may have been contempt of court, which I have no problem with. If we can't enforce the zoning, then what's the point again?
    How do I know you are who you think you are?

  11. #11
    Cyburbian craines's avatar
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    Permit yes. Height 6' for side and rear, though in some sections of the city that varys and may go up to 8'. Front set back 42". All fencing can occur on the property lines and in if a easement runs concurrent with a property line then there is no issue other than whoever owns the easement (more often than not in LA this would be the utility companies) has the right to access them and do what they need.

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