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Fences in servitude removed by parish to cut ditch, residents must pay to put them back

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DENHAM SPRINGS - Last year, the Livingston Parish Department of Public Works said it would be tearing down fences in Arbor Walk, if the neighbors didn't move them out of the servitude. The neighborhood's HOA, Community Management, LLC, sent out a final notice on June 10 saying homeowners not in compliance would have their fences removed.

The parish showed up with machinery Monday morning and got to work. It says it's removing the fences of 29 properties.

"We got with the Homeowner's Association, we had two separate meetings to try to inform the people in here that we needed the extra room to maintain these ditches and keep the grass down," DPW Assistant Director Huey Comeaux said. "We sent letters. We're here today and we still have some that haven't been moved."

Arbor Walk HOA stopped maintaining the drainage ditches last year, telling homeowners it was parish property. When the parish took over maintaining the drainage area from the HOA, the crew found that some residents built their fences in the servitude. To properly clear the ditches, the parish will use a long boom tractor on a Kubota. The boom has a large blade on the end that reaches into the ditch to trim debris. The parish says the ditches are too large to maintain any other way, and removing the fences is the only way it can get between the properties.

Some homeowners have already moved their fences where surveyors recently told them to move them. Others say they don't want anyone touching their fence.

"When we bought the house, the fence was already here," Kayla Forsythe said. "The owners before us had to put in an application to have the fence put up, and it was approved by the Homeowner's Association and been standing since."

Forsythe wants to know who was responsible for approving the fence, now that she knows she's one of 29 properties on the fence tear-down list. Surveyors say she has to move her fence three feet closer to her house.

"This is insane, I know people who have things up against their fence line that they've had there for years," she said. "This neighborhood isn't old, it's not the newest area at least. I know some of these fences have been up here for three to four years."

Residents who have had their fences removed by the parish will not be charged. They will be responsible for reinstalling their fence in the correct spot.

Previously, the parish said it would cut the ditch once, and it would be up to the property owner to maintain. Monday, the parish said it will be maintaining the ditch moving forward.


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