Homeowners say their fences have to go or they could face hefty fines

CHARLOTTE — Homeowners in a west Charlotte neighborhood who say they spent thousands installing fences on their properties could be fined because of them.

DreamKey Partners is building the Aveline at Coulwood neighborhood and included a back wall behind some of the houses.

Some of the homeowners, like Tanisha Griffith and Glenn Hart, added side walls to completely enclose their backyards.

Griffith and Hart are not your average homeowners — he inspects houses for a living and she’s a real estate agent.

The side walls they added are the same height as the back wall. Hart says he even used the same company the builder used.

“It’s nice and uniform, and so forth,” Griffith said.

“We contacted them, got the fence built, thought nothing of it,” Hart said.

Here’s the problem: The back wall is 6 feet and so are their fences.

One neighborhood rule says fences can’t be more than 5 feet.

Another rule says they must be the same height as the ones they touch.

But that rule doesn’t apply to the back wall.

“I was so disheartened,” Griffith said.

DreamKey still runs the neighborhood. It hasn’t turned it over to the homeowners yet, and it’s threatening to fine them $100 per day for that extra foot of fence.

“But to take it down and put it back up? I mean come on now, that’s just ridiculous,” Griffith said. “Just leave it as such. The people ... have spent money and we’re talking thousands of dollars.”

Hart says five homeowners have this same problem.

He says they have a hearing on Thursday and that 25 people signed a petition in their defense.

DreamKey’s lawyer told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke, “It’s fairly common to have high walls or fences on the perimeter of a subdivision.” But, he says, in this case, “the lots are small” so the developer felt “6-foot fences were out of proportion,” that they “would give an imposing appearance.”

He says the company wanted “a cleaner look,” which is why it “lowered the maximum fence height from 6 feet to 5 feet.”

“There’s no winning,” Hart said.

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