Silver Creek fence, board is divisive

I recently had the opportunity to attend the village of Silver Creek’s Zoning Board of Appeals meeting. I attended having concerns over certain zoning issues. I knew many of the board members by face, as there were no name plaques or introductions.

The issue that evening was over the construction of a fence on bordering properties in the village. I have had past experience in zoning and compliance, serving for approximately 10 years as the town of Hanover Board of Appeals chairman.

First I would like to address the incompetencies of the board itself. Robert Rules, as required, didn’t exist that evening. As people began to speak, in turn, people became upset which is not uncommon from my past experiences.

Making the meeting more disruptive, were certain board members’ attitudes and personal feelings showing bias toward one of the parties involved. I have never witnessed such misconduct from my past experiences. No motions were made and one of the board members shouted, “Let’s leave the fence as it is.” This member is also a neighbor of the two involved, and should have recused himself due to conflict of interest.

Back to the issue, the issue involved a fence that was installed violating height and setback code violations. According to village zoning ordinances, a building permit is required to make sure the fence meets code. This fence was already constructed in violation of these codes as well as the physical appearance. (Code requires the rough side of the fence to face the installer’s property). The village code enforcement officer was aware of the fence, stating so at the hearing.

Instead, the Zoning Board of Appeals served notice and had a hearing, the fabled “Cart in Front of the Horse.”

The hearing continued to be very disorganized, members whispering to each other, despite being a public hearing. One board member abruptly began a lecture on children’s lives matters. I certainly respect those feelings as being a parent and grandparent, however this was neither the time nor place.

Finally, I think the issue could have been resolved by ordering the fence to be installed by code.

If a variance was requested, a hearing could have been scheduled for a future date.

This fence remains out of compliance, as the board and code enforcement officer vacated, not rendering a decision or even tabling the issue. Again, showing incompetencies and negligence. The chairperson directed the complainants to another venue not knowing what that would be?

Dana Tietz is a Silver Creek resident.