TUPPER LAKE - After several months of discussion and a contentious vote, village officials decided to add an allowance for temporary fences to their fence code.
Village Code Enforcement Officer Pete Edwards proposed a stipulation be added to the law that would let people apply to put up temporary fences. The current law has no allowances for temporary fences, but Trustee Rick Donah got a complaint about the business he runs, P-2's Irish Pub, erecting a temporary fence in the summer to guide customers from his bar to the concert hall behind it.
Adding temporary fences to the law was first brought up for discussion in October, and a hearing was held in December. The village tabled action at that meeting, then put off action in January because a resident had asked to approach the board about the topic but didn't show.
When Donah looked for action on the new stipulation at the board's February meeting last week, his colleagues on the board started to question it.
Trustee Tom Snyder said the whole idea for instituting the fence law several years ago was to get rid of orange, plastic snow fences, which were being erected around the village because some landowners were trying to keep snowmobilers from crossing their property. He said those would be allowed with the new temporary stipulation.
Trustee Leon LeBlanc agreed, saying their work three years ago on the law would be a waste of time if this goes through.
"We had a public hearing," Edwards said. "I didn't hear anybody complain."
"We have enough eyesores, Pete," LeBlanc said.
LeBlanc said a week is too long for a temporary fence to be up. Edwards said the individual permits would set out how long the fence should be allowed for. For an event like the annual Woodsmen's Days, the group that puts that festival on usually has its fence up around the Municipal Park for eight days.
With the current law, the Woodsmen's fence would be illegal, Donah noted.
In the case of his bar, he said he was just trying to follow state liquor laws, which require drinking customers to be enclosed in an area, and he doesn't think village code should conflict with that.
"We're trying to follow the law of New York state," Donah said. "I think it's time we did things by the book if we're going to do things by the book."
Snyder called the whole fence law unpopular and said he doesn't want to have to amend it again. The village last amended it in 2011, when they added concrete pylons to fence materials that were banned.
"This has been nothing but a nightmare," Snyder said. "It would be better if we got it right in the beginning."
Donah said there has been plenty of opportunity to discuss the issue already.
Edwards said he also plans to drop a $25 fee for fence permits.
"We're not in it for the money," Edwards said.
Ron LaScala asked if the village would return the $25 other people paid while it was a requirement.
Mayor Paul Maroun said no, that it would start as soon as the law amendment went into effect.
Donah motioned to pass the amendment, and Trustee David "Haji" Maroun seconded the motion. LeBlanc and Snyder voted against it, but the mayor cast the deciding vote in favor of it.
"We'll see how this progresses," said Paul Maroun.
Contact Jessica Collier at 891-2600 ext. 26 or firstname.lastname@example.org.