Hanover discusses fences and solutions to problems

HANOVER – In the past year the town of Hanover has had several problems with fences.

Highway Superintendent Steve D’Angelo asked the town board and the planning board to look at the zoning law for fencing at a recent board meeting.

“I would like to ask the town board and the planning board to look at the town’s fence law. Right now there is a $25 permit fee and there are stipulations about what fences are supposed to look like … We just need to fine tune the law and hopefully we will not run into the problems we had last year,” D’Angelo said.

He said the town is a very diverse place where sand is a reality in Sunset and Hanford bays but snow is a reality in Nashville.

He described one problem the town ran into last year was a resident in Sunset Bay putting up a plywood barricade 15-feet over the town right of way, just a foot from the road, and without a permit. He said this caused sand to gather along the fence and accumulate in the road, which the highway department then had to move.

Councilman Kevin O’Connell asked if the law has a provision for seasonal fencing. Planning Board Chair Carol Depasquale said no.

“As far as the law goes, a fence is a fence,” she explained.

Attorney Jeffrey Passafaro said the effort must also include coordination with the code office to make sure permits are obtained.

In the same vein, Councilman Fritz Seegert asked about any decisions regarding the problems the town had with cattle in the road on King Road.

Supervisor Todd Johnson said no decision had been made. A resident had attended a planning board meeting to complain about the issues saying it is a threat to public safety.

Councilman Wayne Ashley, a former County Sheriff’s deputy, explained New York is a free range state. However, there is a provision in the Ag and Markets Law which says bulls and stallions must be fenced in. He said when this came up as a deputy the district attorney’s office said it would not prosecute the charge.

He added the town of North Harmony is the only town in the county with a cattle fencing law.

Passafaro said the town would not be liable if a car were to hit cattle in the road; it would be the owner of the car’s responsibility for any damage. However, the town would likely have to defend itself in court with or without an ordinance.

“If there is already an ordinance in place with the Ag and Markets do we need another one?” O’Connell asked. “As long as we already have a defense as it currently stands we do not need another one.”

Passafaro pointed out if the town did pass an ordinance it would need someone to enforce it and the town only has a dog control officer, not an animal control officer.

Councilman Kenneth Cross said there is a similar situation in the town of Eden, where a cow was in the road and a motorcyclist died after hitting it. He said the farmer who owned the cow is losing his farm because of legal fees and it is a lesson for those who let their cattle wander into the road.

The board also discussed getting a sign for the bicentennial park in Smith Mills.

Silver Creek Mayor Kurt Lindstrom asked about the code enforcement contract. Johnson said the board needs to further discuss the contract and the meeting with Lindstrom and Piccolo earlier in the week.

D’Angelo asked the board what it would like to do with a 1959 Walter snowplow which it has not used in 10 years. He said it used to be the department’s “insurance policy” for when plows went off the road. Passafaro said if the board would like to sell it, it will have to declare it surplus equipment.

The board also passed a resolution of support for a state assembly bill for lending agencies to give contact information to municipalities for responsible parties in the case of zoning issues.

The next board meeting will be held Feb. 25. The planning board will meet Feb. 18 and the zoning board will meet Feb. 19.