A 20-minute discussion of consolidating a North Hill property at Wednesday’s planning commission meeting boiled down to one sticking point – who owns it and does it been badly closed 55 years ago?
A request from Denise Fuller was made to the commission to combine two lots generally at 314 E. Wallace Ave. Mark Phillian, a civil engineer at RAR Engineering, showed a map with the two lots and said Fuller wanted to eliminate the inside line of the lot so that in the future they could install a fence without having to worry about the rules of recoil.
The call was unanimously recommended by the commission of Bill Morgan, Heather Armstrong and Melanie Mars. Members Albert Conti and Jeff Fandozzi were absent and Lawrence Williams served as an alternate non-voting member.
The old Fisher Alley ran along the lot at 314 E. Wallace Ave. and was released in a deed dated October 11, 1967. The deed gave 10 feet of right of way to the two neighbors.
Philip Berezniak, a DON Services attorney representing neighbor Alton Henry of 320 E. Wallace Ave., argued that his client needed the 20 feet of alley to use a garage in the back of his residence. Consolidating the property, he argued, would unduly close access to the garage.
Phillian said the basis for consolidation can only be made with what is registered with the deed at the courthouse. Part of Henry’s driveway is blocked with pallets and a motorhome, but even so he should be allowed to use the other half to get to the garage and noted that it’s not possible to drive as it is.
“He doesn’t have to, even if he could,” Berezniak said. “If he wanted to drive through it, he could. My argument, legally, is that he doesn’t have to. He has the right to continue to use the adjacent 10 feet that have never been encompassed by an act when Fisher Alley was released.”
Robert DiBuono, another DON attorney handling the case, pointed to discrepancies with the deed.
“You have a deed and a map that don’t look alike,” he said, adding that was enough gray area that could lead to litigation.
Berezniak and DiBuono said they hoped to speak with Fuller’s attorney, Paula Cialella, to reach an agreement on the matter. There is an alley parallel to East Wallace Avenue, but a fence separates it from the garage in question.