Radnor residents Fanny Moinel D’Onofrio and Mark D’Onofrio opted to install a fence after returning from vacation to find security footage of neighbors using their yard and neighborhood dogs using their lawn as a bathroom. They called the township for advice and were told to either call 911 to complain about trespassers or to build a fence. They chose the latter.
The couple researched historically compatible fences and decided to use an open, split-rail fence similar to fences they had seen at Bartram Gardens in Philadelphia. They hired an architect and a reputable fence company, submitted plans to the township and received a permit to build for the $6,500 fence. D’Onofrio said they spoke to Radnor officials about the fence posts being taller than the 4-foot height, but 99 percent of the fence is at that required height, he said. Also, the fence is in the front yard right-of-way, but that was also something they told township officials beforehand.
Once the fence was built, the couple received a citation. Like many townships, Radnor relies on residents’ complaints as a method of zoning enforcement. The D’Onofrios met with Township Manager Robert Zienkowski and believed that he would be coming to visit their property, but instead they received another citation for damaged sidewalks — damage they believe was caused by flooding and poor drainage on their street.
The couple has hired a lawyer to deal with the township. “They approved something they are now saying is impermissible,” Mark D’Onofrio said. “In such a case, what is the remedy?”
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