From the Mayor’s Desk

This is my last letter in 2022 and the end of my second term as Mayor of Cave Junction. I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas holiday. I will be back in 2023 which is also the start of my third term as mayor. The Jan. 9, 2023, City Council meeting will include the swearing in of the newly elected officials and the State of the City address.
I want to talk about one of the issues that residents periodically come in conflict with- fence requirements and permits. All cities have ordinances or laws that deal with maintaining public health and safety, zoning, public morals, behavior, and general welfare. Laws are enacted in cities to protect the visual texture of our area and to keep neighbors in a civil and neighborly relationship with each other. In Cave Junction, as in many other cities, this includes a fencing ordinance. Even though you may want to build any kind of fence anywhere, at any height, and at any position to the property line, this is illegal without an approved fencing permit.
Any time you install a new fence or make changes to an existing fence you need a Fence Permit. Before installing or making any changes you must submit a complete application, pay a permit fee, and the city must approve the fence location before you can begin. Permit application and guidelines are available in City Hall at the front desk during regular business hours. Our friendly and knowledgeable front desk staff are very helpful and can answer questions. Be warned that if you build your fence without a permit or before the city has approved it, you will have to pay double the permit fee. If you don’t make the required changes, you risk a nuisance violation which can be very expensive.
There are many reasonable sounding arguments why someone may want to do something different than what city ordinance allows. However, if city council starts making an exception for one person, then there is very little argument for not making the next exception. If exceptions are the rule there is no point in making laws. It’s important to remember that the city council members are elected and sworn in to enforce the city laws as they exist. Laws can be changed, but there is a significant process that must be followed first. This may sound harsh, but code enforcement can be an important part of maintaining the appearance, functioning, and property values of our city and neighborhoods.