Fence Heights Discussed At Board Of Adjustment

Photo by Jennifer Peacock

JACKSON – The township’s Board of Adjustment approved three variances for the construction of fences/barriers that exceed height and other requirements during its recent meeting.

In each case, the need for added privacy was noted and the applicants agreed to amending their original plans to meet code conditions by the township.

An application by Shlomo Rudnicki of Chelsea Road was heard first and he was seeking a variance to construct an 8-foot solid wood fence where a 6-foot maximum is permitted.
Rudnicki said the fence was needed for reasons of privacy so that his wife could swim in their pool. He said if the fence variance was not approved, “my wife would not be able to use it. The fence is up so that no one can look into the pool.”

The applicant explained that he had a fence that would have an addition added to it and that it would be in place 60 feet from the rear left of the property corner and 50 feet from the property corner from the south.

Board of Adjustment Chairman Sheldon Hofstein asked if the fence was intended to be permanent or if it could be removed.

“Are these two fences a 6-foot one that is pre-existing that would have an addition?” vice chair Carl F. Book Jr. asked.

Rudnicki said that it would be attached to a 6-foot fence.

“It looks significantly higher than eight feet. Have you had problems with people looking into the pool?” Book asked.

Board member Stephen Costanzo asked for the dimensions of the plan and recommended that Rudnicki comply with “any and all code requirements.”

The applicant agreed to that and his neighbor, Moshe Somsolonsky, gave testimony that he had no objections to the permanent fence. “I actually asked him to put it up.”

Board member Scott Najarian voiced concerns of safety should a child wander into the pool and there being no ability for anyone to see any swimmer having difficulty.

“This could have been a better plan but I am understanding of the need for privacy,” Book said.

Rudnicki also agreed to a township inspection of the completed fence.

Board members Joseph Sullivan and Najarian voted against the application but all other members voted for it.

The second application for a similar project, which proposed a fence/barrier that exceeded the maximum 6-foot requirement and type of material used, came forward by Naffoli and Chana Ort of Arizona Avenue.

The application also concerns an above ground pool and the need for privacy for Naffoli’s wife to utilize the pool. The barrier was originally planned to be around the side of the deck of the pool and would be eight feet in height. “The material would be tarps or whatever suggestions there might be permissible,” Naffoli Ort said.

Board attorney Sean Gertner suggested Ort modify the application to an approved material such as wood instead of the tarp.

“I was only thinking of having it up during the swimming season as it is in the middle of the yard but if a fence would be better that would be fine,” Ort said.

Resident Jim Bezanson, who lives near the residence, said during the public comment period of the application that “any time you are screening visibility where you can’t see into the pool you are putting a person at risk.”

He cited an example of two children who had entered a resident’s pool. “This is just for safety reasons.”

“I understand the modesty concept but unlike the prior application there is a conflict also with the material being proposed,” Book said.

Gertner recommended the applicant have the open side of the fence to the rear of dwelling and have three parts solid.

Sullivan noted that while “I have safety concerns, there is nothing in our regulations saying you can’t do that.” Sullivan said this in reference to the fence surrounding the pool in the manner proposed. “I personally wouldn’t, but it is not written in stone that they couldn’t.”
Board members Peter Maher and Najarian voted against the application for reasons of safety.

The third application was by Meragle Horowitz of Marymount Court who sought a variance to construct a 6-foot solid fence in the front yard area where such fences are prohibited.
Hofstein questioned the placement of the fence noting that any utility work that would have to be done could result in the utility company removing the fence to do the work.

The applicant agreed to modify the plan to meet requirements of material requirements and also adjusted the dimensions of the fence.

Gertner requested that an 8 x 19 foot shed on the property that had not been included on the survey, be added into the application for the board’s documentation.

Najarian made the motion with the modifications made to approve the variance.