Good Fences Don’t Necessarily Make Good Neighbors

At least not in the case of Ruth Dwyer and Patrick Perry of Thetford, Vermont.  According to Valley News, when Perry purchased the approximately two-acre hayfield across from Dwyer’s farm in 2013, his family did what most property owners do – they built a single-family home.  A very reasonable single family –light blue, 1500 square feet. 

Dwyer, a former state legislator, objected.  Not to the construction of the home per se, but to the change in the view from her house.  Dwyer much preferred the view of a hayfield.  To block the Perrys’ house from view, Dwyer had a fence built.  But not a normal fence - Dwyer had a massive 60-foot-by-24-foot partition, consisting of cloth strung across multiple utility poles, constructed to block her view of the Perrys’ house, which she claims offends her sensibilities.

That partition put her in violation of the Thetford zoning bylaw, which requires a permit for fences of greater than 10 feet.  Dwyer has retroactively applied for a permit, and a hearing is scheduled for January 13, 2015.  However, the damage has been done, with the Perrys indicating that they feel the wall comes across as “unfriendly.”  Others in the area seem to agree, although Dwyer insists she bears no animosity to her new neighbors, and simply does not like the aesthetics of the Perry home, with the additional complaint that the glow from their TV through their window bothers her.  The public hearing on January 13 before the town Development Review Board will determine whether the fence may remain as constructed.

For more, see this article from the Valley News.