When: Monday, December 13th, 2010
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Place: Deer Park Baptist Church Fellowship Hall


The Voice of the United Estates of Deer Park
Official Publication of the Deer Park Neighborhood Council
Vol. 16; No. 69 December 2010

By Julia Long

I am very grateful to everyone for being allowed to serve the community as President. Thank you for all your support. Our new president for 2011, Beth Evans, also needs your support. I'll continue on the Board to help her all I can. Please come to our Christmas party on Monday, bringing any finger food you'd like to share, and tell her she can count on you. It makes all the difference.

I had hoped to have no business to discuss this month, but a proposed ordinance change may give some in our neighborhood a sad choice of either being exposed to an increased risk of crimes of opportunity or else surrendering some land rights. From the residents' point of view, this proposed law is wrong and should not be passed. The public can speak at City Council, 7 PM on December 9, and at Public Safety, 5 PM on December 16. You can also email, call, or write your views to me to present to the City.

Here's what's going on: Our present buffer ordinance says that an 8-foot-high privacy fence should be located at the inside edge of the 25-foot-wide buffer. The City wants to change this because of a business owner objecting to his buffer being behind the fence. The obvious solution is just to add an option to place the fence quite near the property line if the business owner would like to do that.

However, the proposed ordinance adds an extra and unnecessary provision requiring dedicated land for fence maintenance. It applies only to us in the University Boulevard Overlay, not to the rest of the City. Apparently people in the rest of the City are trusted to use common sense (in choosing low-maintenance material and modern construction techniques), as well as to use courtesy in allowing reasonable access for maintaining fences between properties. But not us. The new ordinance says we must set aside valuable land just for someone to stand on when they nail or paint the fence every few years. As an example, if the hospital builds on the land it owns behind and next to my house, we're looking at a possible 1500 square feet of expensive land dedicated to fence maintenance! I believe in a limited government that intrudes into private matters only when truly necessary for the public good, not a government that dictates how to take care of our fences.

The proposed ordinance provides for these two options:

Option 1 - The business privacy fence must be at least three feet in from the property line. Because three feet is not enough room for thick plantings that discourage trespassers, this space is almost sure to become a cut-through passageway, attractive not just to our teenagers but also to any strangers roaming through the neighborhood. This could make the adjoining residents targets for "crimes of opportunity." Along Storen, for example - including the parsonage of Deer Park Baptist Church and the church fellowship hall and playground - this option provides tempting access to the back yards of the houses and to the church property and even to homes across the street. A person could park at a new business on University Boulevard (meaning that residents could not identify the vehicle to the police), then slip around the end of the business fence, move along the passageway hidden from the view of the other customers, commit a crime, duck back around the fence carrying stolen items or a snatched child, and drive quickly away.  This makes us more vulnerable to crime on a daily basis. Why? Just to make it a little easier for businesses to work on fences every few years.

Option 2 - The fence can be put on the property line, provided the resident surrenders to the business a 3-foot-wide irrevocable easement on his/her own yard. That means the resident must pay taxes on land he/she can't use; in my case the business could chop down the 50-year-old azaleas my parents planted. The new ordinance seems to function to get around the State's prohibition on takings of private land rights to give to another private person/entity. In this case, fear of being a potential crime victim acts as pressure on the law's residential targets to give up some of their land rights. Certain opportunistic people around the state will no doubt notice and then look for similar ways to take away other people's land rights.

Our Councilman Bobby Jameson is sponsoring this proposed law. When I first spoke to him about it, he immediately agreed that it is dangerous to residents; he said that he had not thought of that problem and would act to get rid of possible passageways. I was excited and happy to hear this. However, he has now indicated that it would take too long (presumably one more month) to correct the law, and he's going to carry it on through in its present form so that Mr. Robert Pratt, a businessman on Dantzler Drive, won't have to wait to put up his fence (Mr. Pratt has for many months failed to construct his fence where the present law requires, so I assume that the proposed new ordinance will let him put his fence where he's wanting to put it).

Bobby has told some of us in the past, if I understand him correctly, that while the civic club presidents represent the needs of residents exclusively, he looks at the big picture and feels he has an obligation to represent businesses coming into the area. I have asked Bobby to write up some comments so that we can all clearly understand where he is coming from. He kindly agreed to do so but has not yet sent me his comments, and it is past time to get out the newsletter. He had a family emergency and was away a few days. I'll get those comments to you when I can.

OUR SYMPATHIES go out to Bill and Linda Brinson and their family in the death of Bill's mother.


Deer Park Baptist Church, which so generously allows us to use their Hall for our meetings, will be performing the Singing Christmas Tree on December 17, 18, 19 and 20. For free tickets, go to www.DeerParkChurch.com or call the Church office at 553-1172. SEE YOU ALL MONDAY AT THE CHRISTMAS PARTY!

Garbage Pick-up Schedule

Garbage: Every Wednesday
Leaves/Grass: Every Wednesday
Large Trash: Every Wednesday
(Please note that Thursday will be pick-up day when City Holiday falls on Mon., Tues., Wed.)
Recyclables: every other Thursday - Dec. 23rd, Jan. 6th, 20th

Board of Directors

President: Julia Long 553-3235
Vice President: Dennis Isgitt 797-2455
Secretary: Beth Evans
Treasurer: Linda Brinson 553-8832

Board Mbr. Apptd: open

Board Mbr. Elected: Susanne Azevedo 572-2321
Board Mbr. Elected: Audrey Carpenter 553-7768
Board Mbr. Apptd: Mary Hutson 553-4451

Key Personnel

City Council District 3: Bobby Jameson 824-1500
County Council Rep: Elliott Summey 200-4244
Neighborhood Crime Watch Representative: John Flinn 863-0659
N. Chas. Dispatcher:   745-1015
Housing Director: Darbis Briggmann 740-2560
Crime Prevention Officer:
Cpl. Brian West
Code Enforcement: Tommy Long
CAC Representative: open
Membership: Linda Brinson 553-8832
Newsletter Distribution: Jimmy Mitchum
Jim Driver
Bill Lusk
Newsletter: Susanne Azevedo 572-2321
Disaster/ Preparation: James Brown 553-4329
Sick & Sunshine: Susanne Azevedo 572-2321
Voter Registration: Douglas Azevedo 572-2321

Our Neighborhood Website: www.ourdeerpark.net

Mail your $15.00 dues to: Linda Brinson  2510 Gable St., N. Chas SC  29406