Giuseppe Sorgente’s new fence around his rental property in the Côte Saint-Luc suburb of Montreal is his pride and joy.
“Well, my brother built the parts in Ottawa and I had to go get them,” he told PKBNEWS, so it was a gift.
He put it together about a month ago but there is only one problem. City officials told him his fence was illegal.
“Now they’re telling me they want me to move the fence 18 feet away (from the sidewalk).”
According to him, Côte Saint-Luc authorities claim that the fence is on city property, but he insists that his certificate of location indicates that the fence is on his land. Sorgente admits he didn’t inquire about getting a permit before he started building because he didn’t know he would need one.
One of the reasons he thought his fence would be suitable is that it is connected to an older fence at the back of the house that existed when he purchased the property over a decade ago and he says the city didn’t ask him to move. .
Making him even more confused, he says city officials told him a hedge or bush would be OK.
Some neighbors think the fence adds curb appeal and are surprised by the city’s restrictions.
“I think it’s something that should stay because it gives the neighborhood a much warmer look,” said Ariel Dahan.
Sorgente’s wife, Debbie Bellini, says beyond that, there’s a practical reason the fence is needed: to keep dogs off the property.
“Not all dog owners take care of their pets,” she noted. “It’s very unfortunate.”
In an email, Deputy Mayor Dida Berku explains that “the city has a public right of way on all private properties adjacent to the street and sidewalk. This right-of-way varies in depth from 6 feet to 18 feet. “For the city, maintaining this right-of-way is important for many reasons, including the installation and required maintenance of existing above-ground and underground utilities that must be accessible at all times.”
“In general, it is prohibited to build a solid fence on city property. Hedges and bushes are permitted as they can be easily removed.
The official also wrote that there are other cases in which residents have illegally encroached on city property, but that officials try to accommodate residents who find themselves in special circumstances. She advises Sorgente to stay in contact with the city regarding her case, to find a solution.
The owner says he intends to do so.
“But you know, the law is the law,” he smiles. “We have to listen to them, otherwise we’re screwed.”
He still hopes to be able to find a solution with the city.
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