Fancy fences climb higher than allowed

[attach]962[/attach]How do you know you’re in the Bridle Path?

Well, besides the giant mansions.

Look for the tall, wrought iron fences.

And while they’re not out of place in one of Toronto’s most affluent communities, lately there are so many requests to build taller-than-allowed iron fences in other wards, city staff has been asked to report on the regulation.

Eglinton-Lawrence councillor Howard Moscoe says he’s concerned this type of grand fence may not fit in communities with smaller lot sizes, so he wanted some guidelines established for the entire north district.

His request was roadblocked when staff came back to the table and said the regulation of fences is citywide and can’t be based upon a neighbourhood.

So anyone can apply and anyone can appeal, regardless of lot size.

The city report looking into the matter focused on wards with vastly different incomes and property sizes, including Flemingdon Park, Don Mills, Leaside and Willowdale.

“Right now wrought iron fences have the same (height) restrictions as any other fence,” said Councillor Cliff Jenkins, whose ward includes the Bridle Path.

“They come to community council to get an (height) exemption and almost always get it.”

In the past nine years, residents have been successful in getting approval for fences that are higher than allowed in 43 cases in North Toronto, North York, The Bridle Path and other local communities.

And the tall fence of choice is not barbed wire or steel but fancy wrought iron.

Some residents seeking approval for tall wrought iron fences in his ward 25 have wealth and want to protect it, Jenkins said.

Two recent applicants seeking permission for these tall fences are the head of a pharmaceutical company and another is in the automatic teller machine business.

“Wrought iron fences do serve a purpose of providing more security,” Jenkins said. “In The Bridle Path are $5, 7-10 million homes.
They (homeowners) are of considerable wealth. They spend some time thinking about the security of themselves and their families.”

But Moscoe said these fences are more about showing off than about scaring away robbers.

“It’s being presented as being about security. It’s about status, wealth and presence that you want to present to neighbours,” Moscoe said.

“The vast majority of applications in Cliff Jenkins’s ward are not inappropriate as in his ward lots are larger,” Moscoe said. “But you should look at standards for wrought iron fences.”