Heights couple paints fence to protest city ordinance

Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS — A couple is protesting the city’s annual ordinance violation letter by making a colorful statement with their fence.

Husband and wife Joe Renye, 55, and Barbara Renye, 54, painted the fence of their house in the 4200 block of Detroit Street red, yellow and green after the city requested they paint it.

The Renyes said the colors were chosen to get people talking and because they’re the first three colors children learn.

A letter from Mayor Dan Paletko sent to residents each spring asked homeowners to “ensure that everything is secure, safe and aesthetically acceptable. I can understand this and believe that three weeks is a sufficient amount of time for most of us to have a successful spring clean-up. We will be in your area during the week of May 23, 2016.”

The city’s fence ordinance states “homeowners and occupants are responsible for ensuring the proper maintenance of fence structures. This includes the repair of replacement of all posts, gates, and other structural elements, and ensuring the fence is properly painted.

Barbara Renye said that when the couple first received the letter two weeks ago, she thought it was junk mail because of its appearance.
The Renyes, who both are retired from the Police Department said they would like to see the city address major blight issues.

“They shouldn’t just walk house to house writing violations for revenue,” Joe Renye said. “The city can address small problems on the houses that need more attention or are being dealt with in court.”

A house down the street has been vacant for months with uncut grass and collapsed garage door.

“We worry about the children who play near the house,” Barbara Renye said.

Other neighbors have also complained about the city’s method of enforcing ordinances on residents.

“There is an elderly woman who needs to paint her garage and cannot,” Barbara Renye said. “We might get the neighborhood together and help her with the city’s request.”

The Renyes said they already have helped another neighbor by fixing his gutter and cutting his grass.

Paletko did not return phone calls by press time.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)