Fence talk stretches on in Sunset Beach

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By Laura Lewis, Reporter

SUNSET BEACH—Ongoing discussion about fences—the kind that makes good neighbors—was deferred last week by the Sunset Beach Planning Board to a Nov. 20 work session.

The board is revisiting a proposed amendment to the fence-height ordinance after it was sent back by town council last month for language clarification.

Board members also indicated at the Nov. 6 workshop they favor eliminating front-yard fences altogether in Sunset Beach, though existing ones would be grandfathered.

The recommendation from town building inspector Jeff Curtis is to limit fence heights to 4 feet on the island and 6 feet on the mainland except for fences in front and side yards, which would be restricted to 4 feet.

Board member Eddie Walters said the amendment as its written needs to address corner-lot situations.

“I’d like to see us rethink that,” he said.

Town administrator Gary Parker said he thought the town attorney could “do something about that line so it’s clear.”

“Sounds good to me,” Walters said.

As discussion continued, board members informally indicated they’re in agreement on an added provision to do away with front-yard fences. Board chairman Al Seibert said existing front-yard fences would be grandfathered, “but if they fall down they can’t be put back up again.”

Curtis said if a picket-fence-type development like Devaun Park was proposed in Sunset Beach, “you could create a special district for front-yard fences.”

“I’m in favor of eliminating them,” Walters said.

At the Nov. 20 workshop board members will also discuss the future of Seibert and vice chairman Walters, whose terms are expiring. Each has indicated they would prefer to step down from their leadership positions and stay on just as board members, if suitable and willing replacements can be found.