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Atlantic Beach tries to cover both sides of fence

5:49 PM, Jun 17, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. -- Horrible. 

That's how Karen Bernstein described her experience in getting the permit to build her six foot vinyl fence.

"We just want to get done and find peace in the community and be happy here," said Bernstein. 

The Bernsteins had a fence installed at their Atlantic Beach home to keep the dog in and the wandering kids out.

In February they applied for a fence permit. Atlantic Beach City Hall disapproved it and told them to revise the application suggesting they change the height or change the site plan.

In March Atlantic Beach then issued a permit for a six foot fence.

"My fence guy went in and picked up the permit," said Bernstein. "He installed the permit and now this happened."

In May, Atlantic Beach issued a violation for the size of the fence after a citizen complained.  They're being told to reduce the size of the fence to four feet or face $250 a day in fines.

"My neighbors are all very happy," said Bernstein. "The person who complained doesn't live in this neighborhood."

Plus there are older fences in her neighborhood, some higher than hers.

Bernstein wants to know if Atlantic Beach city hall has two standards of enforcement.

"I'm feeling I did everything the right way and get the permit and now I'm being punished,' she said. "And everyone who has these fences can keep their fences.

The Bernsteins invested two thousand dollars in the fence and can't afford to lose their money. 

"You can't cut down a white vinyl from six to four feet," she said.

They have filed for a variance and would like the community development board to look at their fence and talk with their neighbors before making a final decision.

"It is important to me for my protection and the children on the sidewalk," she said.

The hearing is scheduled for July.  

Mike Griffin, Atlantic Beach Director of Building and Zoning, said he understands the Bernsteins concerns but it is up to the board to decide.

Griffin could not explain how the permit went from being disapproved to approved, and now violations.

First Coast News

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