Fence Dispute Highlights the Importance of Property Lines

46733607 - image of a decorative cast iron fence.An unlikely conflict has arisen in Connecticut between a bakery and a 92-year-old town resident. Ann McCarthy has lived in her home on Grant Avenue since 1953 and has always enjoyed the full space of her driveway. After more than 50 years of embracing the land as her own, the bakery next store, Mozzicato DePasquale Bakery and Pastry Shop, is preparing to construct a fence that would be installed directly down the middle of McCarthy’s driveway.

When owner Rino Mozzicato asked permission to install the new fence, he cited liability issues as his reason. McCarthy requested a public hearing to try and stop the motion, but the commission rejected her request and reminded her that the bakery’s fence location would be legal and in compliance with all land use rules.

Back in 2009, Mozzicato asked McCarthy to sign a license of encroachment that gave McCarthy life use of her side yard and driveway, but included a stipulation that the owner reserved the right to rescind his permission without notice. A social worker from Plainville Senior Center is advocating for McCarthy and explained to the media, “She’s really frustrated and stressed over this. I don’t think she had any idea what she signed. She had nobody with her. Lawyer. Friend. Anyone.”

Now Mozzicato has provided McCarthy with a 30 day notice to terminate, meaning she has one month to remove her belongings and personal property from his side of the driveway. He also marked the driveway in red to note the location of the fence and the new size of McCarthy’s driveway.

Although she is nearly 100, McCarthy isn’t backing down from this fight. She took her own blue paint to suggest a different fence location on the driveway that would provide just enough space for a car when she has visitors. It will ultimately be up to the planning and zoning commission to determine the fate of the fence.

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