There’s an old line from Robert Frost that good fences make good neighbors. New Hyde Park resident Paul DeMattina of Seventh Avenue respectfully disagrees, citing a fence his next door neighbor installed when they moved into the home in late October/ early November.
The original home had burned down according to DeMattina, with a new one being built and the neighbor had wanted to install a fence but he said “they didn’t give us any specifics or any information regarding what kind of fence or anything of that nature.”
During the December 4 meeting of the New Hyde Park Village Board at the village hall, DeMattina said that the neighbor had installed a fence last Thursday alongside his driveway as well as 6-ft. high posts inside his own fence.
“My driveway now looks like a fence supplier with all fences, one behind the other,” he said.
The village’s rule for fences is it can be 6-ft. from the rear line of the home to the back of the property and 4-ft. in height forward of the property.
DeMattina said that he was “surprised” at the regulation since his other neighbor reportedly had to get a variance to instal a 6-ft. fence around his backyard.
“I’m very surprised that the code was changed to give the residents carte blanche to put 6-ft. fences around their backyards,” DeMattina said.
Deputy mayor Robert Lofaro said that the code was not changed and hypothesized that the variance would be to extend the 6-ft. beyond the back of the home further down the side of the property “for that section only.”
Richard Belziti, one of the village’s building officials, had reportedly inspected the property and determined that there was no permit issued to install the higher fence.
“It tells me that this whole permit thing is nothing more than a money-making thing for the village, but more importantly if you’re going to issue a permit, there has to be some accountability for aesthetics. Something like this should not be allowed,” DeMattina said, adding that the family reportedly moved from Jackson Heights. “They have no concept of suburban life whatsoever. This guy just went ahead and did whatever he wanted and never bothers to discuss it with us.”
DeMattina said that he did reach out to the neighbor, who reportedly said that the fence was for privacy and to keep his dogs inside the yard.
“I think the answers that the building department unfortunately accurate,” Lofaro said. “The resident is permitted. The issue is not what’s permitted by code, the issue is aesthetics.”
Mayor Daniel Petruccio however did not see an immediate solution to the problem, saying that “part of the problem is the code we have is to protect the 6-ft. fence from extending too far to the front property line. We never thought we had to legislate intelligent decisions. It’s very hard for us to legislate common sense. We have laws to protect certain things but what kind of legislation could we put in place to stop that?”
Added Lofaro: “let us take it under advisement.”