Feedback: Man Fights City Codes To Keep His Fence


Jacob Johnson is the owner of Jake's Landscaping & Lawn Care.

Just last month, he put up a chain-link fence to go around a pool he recently installed at his home on Mullin Street in Watertown.

But this month, the city Code Enforcement Bureau gave Johnson notice that his fence was in violation of city codes.

"I had to put a fence up for the pool knowing that. I did what looked best aesthetically, what went with the property, what worked for my neighbors friends and family," said Johnson.

But the problem is the fence doesn't work for the city's Code Enforcement Bureau.

The department says Johnson violated the law because he did not file for a permit, the fence was too close to the sidewalk, and the fence has to be at least 5 feet away from his neighbor's driveway.

"He should of done the fence the way it was supposed to have been done and then approached council about changing it and allowing the fence to be extended out to the street," said Code Enforcement Supervisor Shawn McWayne.

Johnson says he was fully aware of the law, but put the fence up anyway because he felt the law was unfair.

But council members say Johnson went about the situation all wrong. 

"I also told him when he asked me about it, 'You know, if you're telling me you knew it was against the law and you did it anyway, there's not much I can do for you,'" said Mayor Jeff Graham.

"He should have come to us then and said, 'Wait a minute. What if I want to do this that or the other thing?' After the fact is not fair to the city council," said Councilwoman Teresa Macaluso.

Johnson says he doesn't understand what all the fuss is about.

He says he has spoken to his immediate neighbors who say they love the fence.

He plans to file an appeal with the zoning board of appeals and will also talk to city council about changing the law next month.

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Saturday, December 10, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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