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."