In Little Silver, When Do Fences Make Good Neighbors?

A fence that went up on Fox Hill has provoked the ire of those in the neighborhood.

It is said that fences make good neighbors but for one Little Silver neighborhood, the opposite seems to be true.

Joe Harvier, who lives on the corner of Fox Hill Drive and the rocky access road that leads up the hill off Branch Avenue, installed a split rail fence last spring in an effort to deter speeders, but the move left his neighbors miffed.

About 20 of those neighbors, along with Harvier, showed up at the Little Silver Borough Council's workshop meeting on Monday night to try to come to a resolution on the issue.

While Harvier went through all the proper borough channels to erect the fence that he said was put up in the interest of his two young children's safety, neighbors said at the meeting that it juts into the intersection, making turns and navigating the rocky terrain of the gravel road hazardous.

Kay Vilardi, who's lived on Fox Hill -- just up the hill from Harvier -- for 25 years, said she was concerned about emergency vehicles being able to access homes past the new fence. "The entrance is compromised," she said. 

"The fence," she added, "just went up one Sunday morning."

Actually, the fence initially went up even futher out into the roadway that encroaches on the property but Harvier, who moved to the neighborhood about three years ago, agreed to push it back towards his property and an existing fence. 

One intial solution discussed was having the borough take possession of the access road, which has been used as a public right-of-way for 50 years, but with that comes a lot of criteria that would change the flavor of the neighborhood --like sewer drains, street signs and pavement -- that none of those present said they wanted.

"We're not looking for a shiny new road," said David DeLorenzi who lives at the top of the hill. Most residents who spoke out at the meeting said they were satisfied with the borough throwing some gravel down on the roadway a couple of times of year and suggested building up the sides of the road to solve drainage issues rather than install costly sewer drains.

Incorporating the access road into the borough's annual roads program and providing upgrades like paving and drainage could cost about $75,000, according to Councilman Donald Galante.

Scott Christopher, whose Woodbine Avenue house that he bought a year ago backs up to the access road, said that there were three issues that needed to be resolved: safety, drainage and access.

He said the potholes littering the roadway do little to deter cars from speeding down the hill, sending a cloud of dust into his backyard. Water runoff is also an issue for Woodbine residents whose basements have flooded when water flows from the uncurbed and eroding roadway onto their properties.

Harvier said he was amenable to moving the fence for a second time, if safety issues were addressed with speed bumps along the access road to slow traffic.

The borough will move forward with foreclosing on two lots to purchase the roadway, which the mayor and council members will formally vote on at an upcoming meeting. Little Silver officials will also work with Harvier to address safety concerns and compensate him for moving the fence.

"I'm not looking for the town to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars," Harvier said Monday. "Safety was always my number one issue."

Galante said in an e-mail, " We will work with all the residents to come up with solutions which will resolve all the issues."

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Jennifer S. December 05, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Am I reading this correctly? Harvier fenced in his property and went through all the proper channels to do so and his neighbors want him to move his fence so they can speed down an access road? Seriously?? Wow. Really glad they aren't my neighbors. How sad and petty. I would have thought Hurricane Sandy would have helped people put things in perspective. Apparently that is not the case on Fox Hill Drive in Little Silver. Sad. Sad. Sad.
George H. December 06, 2012 at 01:45 AM
I am a resident of Woodbine ave that backs up to that private road.The residents who are doing the screaming are some of the same people who are speeding down that road. It is very sad that this guy legally puts up a fence on HIS property and is getting harassed by these so called neighbors. There is a white expedition suv that goes up and down that road every day at a very high rate of speed and has been told to slow down and continues to speed with kids in the vehicle and could care less about safety. We have contacted police for help and they say nothing can be done by them because the road is private.How sad is that. I hope the fence stays.
m December 06, 2012 at 05:07 AM
this is nuts - this guy sound pretty flexible, he went through proper channels- now they want something done! hey pay his property taxes then you get to decide what happens on his property!! that lady complaining about emergency vehicles is a joke - thats just to make herself seem reasonable when she is actually a total control freak. leave the fence and slow down!
J.P December 06, 2012 at 11:34 PM
I'm another Woodbine resident and have been complaining about the speed on that road all year. The police do nothing about it. I guess it's a private road anybody can do 100mph and the police won't do anything. My neighbor was walking her dog and the white suv came down with a carload of kids and didn't slow down at all she was left in a cloud of dust. God forbid someone gets hurt by this woman and our town leaders are ignoring safety issues. Lawyers would kill each other to get that case. I hope the fence stays.


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