Ross Callahan learned the hard way, the very hard way, that building a fence requires the approval of a number of community entities. Callahan’s journey started in 2013 when he wanted to install a simple, attractive fence in his backyards to provide his dogs with the freedom to run and play. His neighbors had built similar fences over the years without asking permission, but Callahan and his wife didn’t feel right building an entire fence without the correct approvals.
So began a three year journey laced with frustration, disbelief, and many surprising developments. Back in the summer of 2013, Callahan asked the St. Paul’s department of safety and inspections for permission to build a dog fence, and was told he needed to obtain a property survey, mark his corners, and show the documents to the city. Unfortunately, that survey brought to surface a number of unpleasant realizations.
Not only did Callahan’s eaves hang over his neighbor’s property line, but an easement covered half his plot of land and extended so far into his back yard that it encompassed his entire living room. An easement is a slice of land dedicated to the public to accommodate things like utility lines. Behind the easement sat a park path that was allegedly being maintained by a homeowner’s (more…)