I am a very sad do-it-yourselfer right now! About a month ago I began to undertake one of my largest do-it-yourself projects. I set out to build a 100' custom redwood lattice fence in my front yard with drip irrigation, lighting and a flagstone path. The top of the fence is about 34" above the finished grade. As I started tearing up my lawn to build the fence,a neighbor warned me that we may have a 4' easement on our property. I immediately halted work and marched off to city hall to discuss it with the planning department. I spoke with an Assistant Planner with the city and explained what street I lived on and exactly what I was doing. He told me that no permit was necessary and no setback was necessary with a fence under 36" in height. I noted the guys name, took his card and thanked him for his time. Three weekends later, I had finished tearing up my lawn, digging 2' deep post setting 17 posts in concrete. To make a long story short, the city's construction inspector came out and issued a stop work order. After talking with him he has said I need a permit and have to push my fence back out of the 4' easement. He does not argue with the fact that the Assistant Planner gave me faulty information. I have scheduled a longer in person meeting with the construction inspector for this Friday. He already has told me on the phone that he discussed my situation with the City Engineer and the result was that it is illegal to build this fence in the 4' easement, and nothing can be done. I mentioned to him the dozens of other fences within the vicinity of my house that are built on this easement and he has said that they really can't do anything about that because they didn't catch it when it was being built.
OK, enough of the big sob story... Here is my question for the group. What the heck can I do about this? I understand that if it is illegal, then it is illegal and they can't permit it. To complicate the issue, we plan on doing a large house addition within the next couple of years and I don't want to stir up a hornets nest over a relatively small project when a much larger one is on the horizon, and I will be dealing with the same inspector. So what do you guys think I should do? Should I just eat the labor and materials hit this will cost me? I estimate about 4 full days of my time and $300 in equipment rental and materials. Should I refuse to move the fence? Should I take the city to small claims court? Or should I just vent on a forum on the internet and then do what the city asks? Aaargh!
Thanks in advance for any advice!
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