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Wealthy People Battling Over A Fence

Wed Sep 09, 2009 7:15 am


[quoteFences are supposed to make good neighbors. But that wasn't the case with a stone wall in Westport, Conn., which pitted neighbor against neighbor and has cost its owner $150,000 in legal fees -- so far.

The story of the stone wall began in 2005 when Albert and Susan Hancock built it around their modest 1920s home in this affluent coastal town. While the wall was being built, one of the Hancocks' neighbors filed a complaint with the town. The town sent out inspectors but did not stop construction, though it later filed its own complaints against the Hancocks. Then, last year, the Hancocks' neighbor filed a separate suit claiming that because the wall runs along a private lane, all the homeowners on the road are liable.[/quote]

This makes me want to live at least a mile from the nearest neighbor when I finally get a house. All of this money over a stone block! What is your take on this?
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RE: Wealthy People Battling Over A Fence

Wed Sep 09, 2009 7:23 am

Quoting Tsaord (Thread starter):
What is your take on this?

As long as the wall is within code and within the property boundaries, I see no problem with it.
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RE: Wealthy People Battling Over A Fence

Wed Sep 09, 2009 10:12 am

My take is that the Lilliens are being ridiculous. My parents had a similar thing with neighbors behind our house over a self contained room my dad built in our back yard that did not affect them at all, they couldn't even see it as there was a fence between it and their back yard. Ultimately it was found that dad was in the wrong for not getting a building permit, and had to pay a large fine. Those people also complained that we built a carport over the back of our driveway, which they claimed was an easement onto the back of their property. They insisted that their son be allowed to use our driveway to get his van to their back fence and that by building a carport we were blocking their son's access to their back fence. I think in that case we were able to prove that the carport was built within our own property line, so they basically had to shut up and go away. But,did we complain when they drained their pool into the creek that ran alongside our house? No. some people are just born ridiculous.
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RE: Wealthy People Battling Over A Fence

Wed Sep 09, 2009 3:14 pm

I grew up in the town that is the focus of the story (Westport, Connecticut). If you ask me, the New York Times writers who penned the article in question make the story about Westport when in fact, as NorthstarBoy points out, this type of property dispute can happen anywhere. Perhaps Westport residents have more financial resources to drag out disputes such as the one profiled in the story, but even when there aren't rich people involved property disputes can last for years. I kind of liked reading about my home town, however, and how it has changed since I went off to college in 1981. My parents left Westport in 1985 and, from what I understand, if we tried to move back today there is no way we could afford it. When I was growing up Westport was a place where middle class people could live, but today apparently only the very rich can afford the high real estate prices.
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RE: Wealthy People Battling Over A Fence

Wed Sep 09, 2009 3:39 pm

There was a doozy of a fence fight in Monte Sereno, CA the last few years that involved the town council and the manager. I think the town manager ended up leaving in disgrace over some emails and harassment charges. It all ended up costing a lot more than the OP's story.

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