Chatham-Kent explores bylaw options to prevent 'spite' fences

·2 min read

Chatham-Kent is looking into preventing residents from erecting "spite" fences that antagonize neighbours.

The city's councillors agreed to receive a report that will assess bylaw options that regulate the fences. Ward 2 Coun. Trevor Thompson says he's had more than a dozen complaints about them. Thompson brought the motion to council last week and hopes that language can be established in a property standards bylaw that will make it more difficult for such fences to be constructed.

"When you're looking at it every day at the side of your backyard, it drags on your mental health and potentially on the value of your home. You know, you advertise lake view or whatever the case may be and suddenly a big fence goes up and you no longer have that lake view," Thompson told CBC's Tony Doucette on Windsor Morning.

A "spite" fence, according to Thompson, is any sort of fence that is created to make another person's area inhospitable by blocking a nice view, creating an obstruction or making the area look unattractive.

Thompson said he thinks the issue "has flown under the radar for a little while" and wants to see something done.

Though the municipality has a fencing bylaw, Thompson says he wants there to be more specific language that discourages spite fences.

"I would like to see some language put in around spite fences or basically getting approvals before you put those fences in and give the, I'll call them the victim in this instance, some sort of pathway to find satisfaction if one of these fences go in because obviously not everybody is going to get the proper approvals for a fence," he said.

Thompson added that there should be some guidelines around what the fence is made out of, what the height is on the fence and proximity to the property lines.

"There needs to be some sort of give and take I would think, unfortunately that's not always the neighbourly way and sometimes we have to try and enforce good behaviour," he said.

And since he's brought the issue up at council, Thompson says he's received even more outreach from the community, particularly from residents living in Erieau, Rondeau Bay and along Lake Erie.

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