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Homeowner angry neighbor's fence blocks walkway

Posted at 5:50 PM, Aug 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-17 11:27:21-04

It's said that fences make good neighbors... but not for this Buffalo resident.

"When we used to be able to walk out this gate, we now have this stockade fence," said 63-year-old Elisabeth Hahn, who lives on Porter Avenue.

It's an issue that many neighbors may have: a large fence sitting just inches from their property. For the case of Hahn, the wooden fence blocks what she calls a vital walkway for her ill husband.

"They can't get the gurney around the corner, through the back they can't get in, because they're not going to find the entrance," said Hahn. "We need the access because if he doesn't get his dialysis, he dies."

Hahn and her husband moved to Buffalo from Germany in 1999, and have owned their two-family apartment ever since. She said she had a mutual agreement with her previous neighbor to use the walkway, but that changed in 2014 when a new homeowner moved in, who then put up the fence.

"It's very frustrating because we have begged, we have pleaded, we have tried various contracts, we have had lawyers involved," said Hahn.

A frustrating, and pricey, situation. The Hahn's have spent thousands of dollars trying to get more access to the walkway. However, according to the Buffalo Fire Department, this is not illegal. It isn't a fire hazard either, as they can access her home from the front or back if there were to be a fire.

Buffalo Police spokesperson Mike DeGeorge said the issue is now being heard in State Supreme Court. We also reached out to the neighbor several times, but so far have not heard back.

Elisabeth Hahn wants people to know this could happen to anybody, and recommends getting an easement before it is too late. DeGeorge also said the city cannot issue an easement in this case because they are on private property.