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Lublin residents spar over fences and alley right of way

Lublin residents spar over fences and alley right of way Lublin residents spar over fences and alley right of way

A battle over fence lines and alleys flared up in the village of Lublin recently.

According to Village Board member Richard Pulcher, a little over two years ago Carl Anderson built a fence in the village grass alley next to his house. His neighbor Doris Sparza complained to the village president Jerry Kolve about the fence. After some checking Kolve discovered that indeed the fence was in the village alley, which is village property. He asked Anderson to move the fence from the village alley to his own property. Anderson refused, saying that it was his fence and if the village tried to make him move it, he would sue the village and win. Then there was an election and Lublin had a new village president, Randy Madlon.

According to Pulcher, the new village president didn’t even try to have the fence moved and would not put discussion of the fence on the board meeting agenda.

Pulcher said he checked with the Wisconsin Towns Association to see if the village president or board could give permission to let someone build and keep a fence in a village alleyway. Their lawyers said they could not.

“To me that meant that by letting the fence remain he was refusing to do his job,” Pulcher said. “To me, he was violating Wisconsin Statute 946.12. That statute prohibits officers from intentionally performing or refusing to perform certain acts. Randy was refusing to make Carl move the fence.”

According to Pulcher, the Town’s Association lawyer said that if the village discontinued the alley the property the alley was on would be split between the owners on both sides of the alley. “That would give Carl the fence and Doris property she doesn’t want,” Pulcher said.

When the house Doris owns was built, it was built with her garage about six inches on the village alley. Pulcher estimated the home was at least 40 years old and he said during that time, there were no complaints about the house being on the village alley.

Pulcher said the Town’s Association lawyer advised that she would own the land the house was on through “adverse possession.” He said Anderson’s fence is very close to Sparza’s house and would make it difficult for her to get around to her back yard. With the alley there, it worked out for her and she mowed the lawn on the alley. Anderson’s house is a long way from the fence and moving it would still allow complete access to all of his property.

Vacating the alley requires a 2/3 vote of the village board. The Lublin board has three voting members — two trustees and the village president.

To drive their point home, last week Jerry Kolve and Pulcher built “an ugly fence” for Sparza on her side of the alley.

“It is an act of vandalism and the village should have us remove it. But it is no more an act of vandalism than Carl’s initial fence. If Doris has to remove her fence, then Carl would need to remove his fence. If Carl can keep his fence, then Doris can keep her fence. It would be a lasting visual tribute to Robert Frost, ”good fences make good neighbors,” Pulcher said.