I read the article this morning entitled, “Mayor orders resident removed.” It stated in the article that the dispute started between the Mayor and Mr. Fiocchi when Fiocchi erected a fence in on his property and that that city inspectors claimed it was in the right of way. The City Council then voted to require him to tear it down and then reversed itself later after a public outcry.
It truly had nothing to do with a public outcry. Provided is what truly took place:
This was one of my first votes on City Council. Bill Martin did not vote that night since his sister was Mr. Fiocchi’s neighbor (he abstained from any voting). Given that I was one of the newest members, my vote was key. I wanted to make sure I got it right. Therefore, I asked the City Attorney Paul Ishak if Mr. Fiocchi was told not to build on the city right of way and was told yes. Therefore, Mr. Fiocchi was well aware not to build on the right of way. But he did it anyway. We have laws and guidelines in place for a reason –compliance. Given Mr. Fiocchi failed to comply, I voted for the fence to come down. To do otherwise would put me in a tough position for any future votes. Suppose I had voted to leave the fence up and down the road someone else wants to also build on the right of way without prior approval. All they would have to say is you looked the other way for Mr. Fiocchi, I want you to do the same for me. Bottom line: the correct approach is to always follow the set laws and guidelines. When you do, you are on firm ground. Thus the fence came down. Again, Bill Martin did not vote in this decision.
Mr. Fiocchi then resubmitted his application, following proper procedures and outlined where the fence would be located on the city right of way (this time asking for prior approval). When it came up for a Council vote (again, Bill Martin abstaining), I voted yes because the proper procedures had now been followed. This vote was like similar situations by City Council’s before me who allowed a fence on the City right of way when prior approval had been requested. Again, it had nothing to do with a public outcry. It had everything to do with compliance, following proper procedures and doing the right thing for the right reasons.
I just wanted to set the record straight.
Havre de Grace City Council