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In Brief: City Officials Agree on First Step Toward Mending the Fence Ordinance Controversy

Commissioners struggled for nearly an hour on how to get an estimated 400 properties with sight-obscuring fences to comply with city codes.

Watching Royal Oak City Commissioners thoughtfully weighing the options to address the fence ordinance controversy on Monday night was like watching a murder trial, according to one resident.

Commissioners agonized for nearly an hour on how to get an estimated 400 properties with sight-obscuring fences to comply with city codes.

"We need to do something . . . so people know we are addressing this problem," said Mayor Jim Ellison. 

In the end, commissioners by a 4-3 vote agreed to take a first step toward addressing the matter that has been a touchy issue with residents since the spring.
 
[Read: Royal Oak Enforces Fence Rules]

The resolution passed does the following:

  • There will be no modifications to fence and zoning ordinances prohibiting sight obstructions
  • Code Enforcement will draft an informative, non-technical, explanatory letter to the owners of property with such site obstructions
  • Owners will have one year to correct violations
  • The permit fee for fence work performed will be eliminated
  • Staff will come back with a recommendation on how to streamline the appeal process with reduced fees
The Duke of Royal Oak December 17, 2013 at 08:38 AM
" The permit fee for fence work performed will be eliminated." Under the City of Royal Oak ordinance Chapter 323. FENCES- 323-9. Permit. A-" Required. It shall be unlawful to construct or install, or cause to be constructed or installed, any fence upon any property within the City of Royal Oak without first obtaining a fence permit." This fence campaign has forced residents to modify an EXISTING fence, NOT CONSTRUCT or INSTALL ! This was brought up during public comment and seemingly ignored by the city council. Therefore, there has NEVER been a fence permit needed for a modification or repair work to an existing fence. Those whom where forced to pay this fee where unnecessarily charged. This action by the city council on eliminating the permit fee for modifying a fence, especially a forced modification was nothing more than folly.
Laura Harrison December 17, 2013 at 11:05 AM
will the commission spend this much time discussing the rat issue?
The Duke of Royal Oak December 17, 2013 at 12:05 PM
It seems that their too busy micro managing the downtown business's.

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