Saranac Lake village to revisit fence law

Saranac Lake Board of Trustees

Saranac Lake Board of Trustees Photo by Andy Flynn.

Saranac Lake Village Board members unveiled changes to the local fence law and decided to re-work the law’s language based on comments heard during the May 29 public hearing.

Forest Hill Avenue resident Ona Allen told board members she brought the fence issue to the village about a month ago because she tried to build a fence without a permit, and she has a couple of problems with the new law that are “a little bit punitive for the person trying to build the fence.” That includes the requirement of a 2-foot setback.

Village resident Rich Shapiro said the law may be “overreaching” in banning some fencing that he feels should be acceptable, such as temporary fencing for vegetable gardens to keep out deer and other animals. He also had an issue with the height requirement.

“In order for the deer fence to be effective, it’s got to be 6, 7, 8 feet high,” Shapiro said. “I don’t think this was the intention of the law. The way it’s written now, we have to pull down the fences in our vegetable garden.”

He asked the Village Board members to amend the law to protect vegetable garden fencing.

Trustee Elias “Allie” Pelletieri also had an issue with the height requirement of 6 feet and that deer fencing around vegetable gardens would have to be taken down. In all, he said the new law has too much regulation.

“I think to say ‘any wall’ is just too regulated for me to accept,” Pelletieri said. “This started out as two paragraphs … and now we’re down to a page and a third.”

Community Development Director Jeremy Evans said that he brought the fence law before the board now, as opposed to when the new land use codes would be amended, because of the issues raised by Ona Allen and her fence situation. It is a compilation of some issues that have been raised over the last few years. But he wanted to make sure that there were more specifics in the fence law.

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