City Council Candidates Weigh In On Fence Controversy

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Rules are not meant to be broken.

That's what two Watertown City council candidates are saying about Jacob Johnson's fence at his home on Mullin Street.

Johnson knew his fence was in violation of city codes, but he put it up anyway because he thought the law was unfair.

"I applaud people for making improvements and I encourage it, but you have to follow the law," said candidate Stephen Jennings.

"You can't just break a law because you don't agree with it. It's like speeding and then going to court and asking the judge to raise the speed limit," said Cody Horbacz, candidate.

About two years ago city council changed the law after a woman complained a neighbor's fence was blocking the view from her driveway.

But Johnson says council acted too quickly.

"I don't think there's a lot of thought that goes into what they do. I think a lot of favors are done for people and I think that when it starts to affect me and other people's daily lives that it's unfair," said Johnson.

On Wednesday, incumbent City Councilwoman Teresa Macaluso said Johnson should have come to council before he put up the fence.

Johnson plans to talk to council about changing the law next month.  

"It's sort of rogue behavior that to me becomes validated if they were to do that," said Jennings.

"I think whenever somebody is concerned about a law or an ordinance, the city council should take it seriously and take the time to look into it," said Horbacz.

We were unable to get in contact with incumbent Jeff Smith on Thursday.

But on Wednesday, he did tell us he disagreed with the way Johnson handled the situation.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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