November 4, 2006
A Town Divided Over a Fence
By JILL P. CAPUZZO
While most of the 500 families who bought into the concept of a tightly knit neighborhood, public parks and “Main Street” shopping have been pleased with the outcome, some are starting to feel constrained by the rules governing the 400-acre Town Center. It was New Jersey’s first designated town center and was created along the lines of Celebration, Fla., the Disney-designed mixed-use community outside Orlando that set the standard for such places.
But despite the festive spirit of the town’s fifth birthday on Oct. 15, one issue that continues to cause unrest is fencing, and the benefits of wood versus vinyl.
To create a hometown feel, design guidelines for Town Center included things like old-fashioned front porches, houses painted in muted historic colors and white wooden fences. Within a short time, however, the wooden fences installed by the builders, the Sharbell Development Corporation, needed painting, and repainting.
With reduced maintenance being a prime reason homeowners chose to move to Town Center — where the yards are less than a quarter the size of those in neighboring communities — the wooden fences quickly became a problem. And when it was discovered that the backyard fences were made of pine rather than cedar and that year-old fences were starting to warp and rot, the battle began in earnest.