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Sep 20, 2019 10:47 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Westhampton Beach Looks To Allow Deer Fencing Up To Eight Feet Tall

Westhampton Beach residents Jeanne and Dean Speir supported allowing deer fence to be eight feet tall at the latest village work session. ANISAH ABDULLAH
Sep 22, 2019 2:13 PM

At a work session on September 18, Westhampton Beach Village Board members discussed adding a provision to the village code that would allow homeowners to build taller fences than are currently allowed to keep deer out of their yards.

Deer eat plants and flowers in people’s landscaping, causing them to be seen as pests. The issue has gotten worse in recent years, with daily deer sightings now a norm, because of a rise in the deer population on the East End.

Chief Building Inspector Brad Hammond suggested at the meeting that the village add a clause permitting residential properties to have deer fence up to 8 feet tall along rear and side yards, 2 feet higher than what is currently allowed for fencing. He explained that the code was initially reviewed after a violation was recently issued to a resident for having a deer fence over 6 feet tall.

Current code permits residential fencing along the front yard to be up to 4 feet tall and along the rear and side yards to be up to 6 feet tall — although 6 feet is short enough for deer to jump over, several people at the work session pointed out. The code does not differentiate between types of fences and has no mention of deer fencing, a type of woven wire fence that is significantly less noticeable than one that is opaque.

“You’ve got deer all over the place. I had four bucks in my backyard, and they’re very brazen,” said village resident Dean Speir, who has a 6-foot fence along the side and rear of his Main Street home. His wife, Jeanne, said she loves to garden and has noticed recently that deer are eating her zinnias.

“I’ve used in excess of $400 worth of deer repellent … and I have to spray constantly if I want my zinnias to grow,” Mr. Speir said.

He went back to the four bucks he saw the other day: “They went right up against the fence, and they looked at it and — not even a running leap, on a standing leap — one right after another to go off into the backyard.”

It is commonly accepted that deer can jump over 6 feet, Mr. Hammond noted, and 8 feet is seen as the standard to effectively keep them out.

The latest draft of the code amendment states that woven wire fencing is allowed to 8 feet “provided they are installed wholly within vegetative buffers and designed to have minimal visual impact.” They must be dark colored and affixed to dark colored stakes to ensure they are discreet.

At the meeting, Mr. Hammond addressed the height allowance from an aesthetic point of view and posed the question: “Does it really matter considering you can’t see it?”

Board members will continue the conversation at their next work session.

The discussion led several audience members to talk about the problem of the growing local deer population, which proves to have harmful effects to traffic safety, public health and the ecosystem, and how to curb the issue.

Remsenburg resident Christian Killoran, an attorney who runs his own law office in the village, spoke about reducing the deer population through a process called culling to reach healthy numbers. A hunter himself, he recommended that the village work with Suffolk County Deer Management, an organization that recently opened in Westhampton that offers deer removal services and archery training, as a way to keep village residents informed and updated on the current deer population and its effects.

Mayor Maria Moore said that she would like to invite the organization’s president, Michael Tessitore, to speak at an upcoming work session. Mr. Tessitore, also the president of the pro-hunting advocacy group Hunters for Deer, spoke at a Southampton Village Board meeting this month to offer SCDM’s services to village residents in advance of deer hunting season, which starts on October 1 and runs through January 31.

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They'll just use a taller ladder...
By V.Tomanoku (788), southampton on Sep 21, 19 12:29 AM
Yea, it’s the eating of plants why they’re pests, right? Not the ticks or causing motor vehicle accidents daily?
By banned (191), Hampton Bays on Sep 21, 19 10:08 AM
Its about time we have personal property rights and it is our property ! These ARB people have been out of control for years, its high time they mind there own business !
By 27dan (2817), Shinnecock Hills on Sep 21, 19 12:21 PM
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8054), HAMPTON BAYS on Sep 21, 19 12:27 PM
yes, yes "there" i get it , it's my voice to text when i post from my phone, I see a lot of this on here everyday from others whom i am sure also know the differance. Relax with the grammar policing i am sure everyone knows what i mean!
By 27dan (2817), Shinnecock Hills on Sep 21, 19 12:33 PM
1 member liked this comment
Sorry :)
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8054), HAMPTON BAYS on Sep 21, 19 12:59 PM
Any property owner wishing to participate in our FREE deer management program can visit us online (our name dot com) or stop by our office on Old Riverhead Rd., next to East End Hospice. The bowhunting season is from October 1st to January 31st.
By Michael Tessitore (76), East Quogue, New York on Sep 23, 19 8:24 AM
And when some folks erect 8 feet tall fences, the deer just go elsewhere to eat. My neighbors added (illegal) 8 feet fences so we now have more deer on our property. Fences only move the deer around.
By esg1192 (9), Southampton on Sep 24, 19 11:29 PM
So you, A] ratted to the Code Enforcement people about the illegal fence, B] whined to the neighbor about how all their displaced deer were now defoliating your property, or C] kept silent 'til you thought to mention it now?

Like it or not, your neighbor pro-actively did something about his deer problem. What is your plan?

By Frank Wheeler (1824), Northampton on Sep 25, 19 1:11 AM
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BRENNAN: You have no problem with any of this?

GRAHAM: I have zero problems with this phone call

BRENNAN: Even with that sequencing?

GRAHAM: I just told you I have zero problems with this phone call. There is no quid pro quo here but I do have a problem with Nancy Pelosi. If you believe that ...more
By local 84 (348), riverhead on Sep 29, 19 3:55 PM