|Disputed Wynnewood fence: trimmed and untrimmed portions.|
Make sure to review Lower Merion fence-building regulations before allowing your contractor to get started. These Wynnewood homeowners with street frontage near the well-traveled crossroads of Bowman Ave. & Wynnewood Rd. said they grew weary of passerby-litterbugs tossing trash into the backyard where their children play.
This spring, they decided to erect a solid, picket-fence similar in size and construction to the one which protects their neighbors' adjacent property. Despite their reasonable goals: Preventing folks from using their yard as a trashcan, And doing so with a fence in visual harmony with that of the neighbors, Lower Merion township rebuked the finished product.
While the fence was handsome and nearly identical to the neighbors' 6-foot fence, it was built 2-feet taller than current township regulations permit. Township codes do clearly indicate that all newly-constructed, solid fences (on property with frontage on township roads) may not exceed 4-feet in height. The homeowners appealed the township's rejection of their fence on grounds it did not exceed the size of any neighboring ones. They also stressed the importance of its stature in terms of quality of life and deterring drive-by littering.
|Much of fence was roughly hemmed to comply with Twp Regs.|
Township authorities denied an exemption to the height ordinance and the homeowners complied with the order of removal - sort of. Only the code-offending portions of the fence (the parts exceeding four feet) were removed. In some places it appears inebriated beavers were in charge of the project. What's left is unsightly and not representative of the honorable intentions of all parties.
The tax-paying new homeowners wished to protect their kids and investment with a nice fence, that wasn't out of character with those nearby. Meanwhile, the Township seeks to appease both traffic-safety sight lines and the aesthetic of Lower Merion as a community and not a collection of fortresses.
Bottom line is that fence-building rules in Lower Merion are not terribly restrictive; however, the rules do have some strict parameters. For everyone's best interest, review the regs online before building a fence, or better yet, before buying that new home. And just because a home has an existing solid fence higher than code, it is very likely grand-fathered, and will not be legally replaceable unless it conforms to current rules.