Friday, May 28, 2010

Does The Palin's Fence Violate Wasilla Municipal Code?

I'm sure everybody is familiar with Sarah Palin's new neighbor by now, after all, Sarah had publicly attacked the tenant, author Joe McGinnis, as being some sort of pervert who will peer into her daughter's bedroom and watch her children swim in Lake Lucille. McGinnis, an investigative reporter, is writing a book about the former half-term governor and celebrity entertainer Sarah Palin, and was approached by Palin's own neighbor to rent the house, according to McGinnis' son.
[I]f you were writing a biography of Tiger Woods and had the chance to move in with him, or his pool house, or rent next door or down the street from him -- it would be journalistic malpractice not to. As a writer, you go where the story is, get as close as you can to it. People who write about politics, campaigns, they travel with the candidates, stay in the same motels, ride the bus, eat breakfast, hang out any and everywhere they can to get access. It's pretty basic. We want to read the work of someone who is as close to their subject as possible. That's called reporting. And when it's for a book about someone, all the more important to be close....

He's not stalking or peeping or peering or meddling. He's simply fulfilling his obligations to his publisher and his readers and himself -- to get as close to the subject of his book as possible. You'll never see tabloid photos or depictions of backyard activities. He's a professional writer with great integrity and an amazing sense of fairness.
Palin, being a journalism major, should understand this, but she doesn't, resorting to juvenile attacks. Why would she insinuate that the author would peer into his little girl's bedroom? As Palingates had detailed, Sarah Palin has shown a history of sexualizing her daughters for publicity.

Remember what happened when David Letterman made a joke?
Letterman referred to Palin, Alaska's governor, as having the style of a "slutty flight attendant." The "Late Show" host also took a shot Palin's daughter, while poking fun at the Yankees' third baseman.

“One awkward moment for Sarah Palin at the Yankee game," Letterman said, "during the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez.”

But an even more disturbing fact, which Letterman may not have known, was that the daughter who accompanied Palin on her trip to New York was 14-year-old Willow—not 18-year-old Bristol, the unwed mother of Palin's first grandchild. Now, many critics—including the Palins themselves—are slamming Letterman for jokes that they say make light of sexual abuse of an underage girl.
The Palin's came out swinging, attacking Letterman for making a joke about their daughter getting raped by a Yankee.

In regards to their new neighbor, Palin had also gone on the attack against the owner of the property, telling Fox pal Glenn Beck that she tried to contact the owner "all winter long" to try and either buy or rent the home "for fear of something like this happening." Now the owner of the property is a villain?

Palin's next step was to build a fence... a really tall fence to keep the peering eyes of McGinnis off her property. I was wondering how the Palins were able to quickly build?

According to the City of Wasilla, there is no requirement to obtain a building permit but the city does have landscaping standards, which details the use of fences.


Essentially, the law permits the construction of a fence, a berm, or a fence on a berm.  Wasilla's municipal codes specifically state that "to ensure privacy between buildings of different heights, tree plantings may be required to make their fence more effective."  The Palin's did not do that.  They simply built an extra large fence.  Pictures of the structure appear that the Palin's just built a taller fence on their existing one.  The code doesn't state anything about building a fence on a fence.

Their fence also seems to violate the purpose of the code.  While the purpose explains that the code was designed "provide attractive and functional... screening between uses," and the Palin's fence is between two residential properties, it is an eyesore and is definitely not inviting to visitors or tourists, like McGinnis.

I am also curious if Sarah Palin's newest addition to her property will affect her property taxes, but don't expect the Palin's to go running to the accessor, after all, they didn't when they built a house-sized cabin on their property.  Records show that the former half-term governor hasn't paid any taxes on those dwellings, and her excuse - her lawyer Thomas Van Flein said it is not Palin's responsibility to report what is built on her property.

Dave Dunivan, the assessor for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, begs to differ, stating that it is the required by state law for the owner to report any errors in their tax assessment, which Palin had not done.  Dunivan stated that homeowners are quick to point out errors that increase their taxes but frequently omit information if it benefits them.  The fact that Palin's tax assessment omitted the cabins was an error that required her to correct it.

While Palin's fence isn't anything like a cabin in the woods, it will surely impact the value of both her home as well as her neighbor's.  I wonder if she thought about that before she decided to start her feud with McGinnis.

The big question here is whether or not the Palin's fence is a violation of Wasilla code.  What do you think?


  1. Both lots are single family residential use, so the code requiring screening between uses would not apply.

  2. Is the property within the city limits of Wasilla? I thought the Palins lived out in the "middle of nowhere"?

    Ha Ha. . .

    But seriously, if the property is not in the city limits, the muni code does not apply.

  3. the problem childMay 28, 2010 at 1:30 PM

    GhostbusterTX, the question is not whether a fence is required (shall), but whether the fence, as constructed, is of a permissible height (may).

    And that looks considerably higher than 6 feet, and is well withing the city limits.

  4. I was sure to make the distinction that the code was intended for spaces between different uses:

    While the purpose explains that the code was designed "provide attractive and functional... screening between uses," and the Palin's fence is between two residential properties, it is an eyesore and is definitely not inviting to visitors or tourists, like McGinnis.

    I think the real question is when looking at a strict interpretation of the code, did the Palin's fail to consider the impact their fence would have on the neighborhood. Familiar with municipal codes and things like covenants and restrictions placed on residential properties, one may believe they have the right to do what ever they want to do with their property, but in reality, there are some limitations.

    For instance, the original covenants and restrictions in Sand Lake Hills do not allow homeowners to erect a chain-linked fence on their property.

    As for the location of their property, from my understanding, they are in city limits. If not, then this question is null and void...

  5. The height of the fence appears to be close to 20'. Based on standard heights, the original lower darker fence appears to be around 6' tall, although the farther from the gate, it appears to dip lower.

    It seems the Palin's thought they could just build a fence on a fence...

    This would be like getting a permit to pour a concrete foundation and then later build a property on the foundation with no permit...

  6. I'd like to know how he secured the new boards to the existing ones. Is he leaving sharp screws protruding into the other side? (major safety hazard). Also, the fence posts were not originally placed to support the additional weight and "sail factor" (my term). Pick up a board and hold it to the wind and see how much push it has. That fence is now FAR more likely to fail in heavy winds than previously. I also believe it violates the law, but who will prosecute Lord Palin?

  7. the problem childMay 28, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    I should clarify: the wording in the permissive section (what fences may look like) says it should be "not less than 6 feet high", not not more than. so 6 feet is the minimum for screening fences.

    That said, this is not a fence on a berm, but a fence on a fence, and is likely to be quite hazardous in high winds.

  8. I wonder if the owner of the home McGinnis is staying in can make the case that the Palin's fence is obstructing natural light from entering their home...

    In Florida, there are some communities that frown on such high structures that obscure the line of sight one may have from their property...

  9. problem child, I totally agree with you about it being hazardous. Which is why I've been saying (elsewhere) that the entity who is most likely to have an issue with this is the company that carries their homeowner's policy.

  10. "she tried to contact the owner "all winter long" to try and either buy or rent the home"

    Is this the home that Willow and pals broke into causing all the destruction?

    Would not surprize me one bit.

  11. Kevin,
    Since it was You that brought it it pertains to the Palins following Rules and Regulations, I think the Palins have shown a PATTERN of behavior in the past and a disregard for such ' frivilous things ' as they would perceive them. Rules... what rules.

    About that little ' infraction ' on TWO ( not 1 )cabins that they owned. You mentioned the Mat-Su's Tax Office in your story. As part of your story did you ever try to contact their Office to find out if the Palins ever paid ANY Taxes on those two properties...? An honest person would want to make sure that they paid their FAIR share so that they would feel they were contributing members of their Community. Reports out there say Sarah Palin has earned over 12 million since she Quit her Job. It's not like they can't afford to pay their ' fair share '. Not more... not less. Just their ' fair share '. I saw stories where they claimed ZERO taxes going all the way back to 2005. If it was 1 year... OK..maybe a mistake. Multiple years...Well you make the call. It just seems like the Palins are NOT contributing to the community they are living in. That's a BAD neighbor.

    Please follow up ( and post an Update ) and ask the Mat-Su people regarding the Palins following the Municipals TAX Code as well. Or are the Palins the New " Queen of Mean "... Leona Helmsley. " Only the Little people pay taxes ".

  12. The Palin's lawyer had responded that all taxes are current and the Palin's had never been delinquent on the property, meaning that the taxes were never adjusted showing the construction of the properties. The tax office was never aware of the construction and therefore never assessed the Palins.

    The report I referenced stated that it is the property owners to report the error, but the Palins had not. Now that the situation regarding the cabins had been brought to the attention of the tax assessor, I am certain the newest tax bill would feature the dwellings...

    As for back taxes, I am unsure if there will be any effort on part of the Alaskan government to try and collect...

  13. Code or no code, unless it is an engineered structure, the fence is a hazard. Any wind and it blows over unless the posts were sunk deeper than normal and were constructed of an appropriately sized timber or pipe. Normally a post should be sunk 1/4 of it's dept into stabilized soil. A 14' fence would normally require a 3 1/2 depth. The posts should probably be 8X8's. If it is not properly installed, people and property are at risk. Sticking a taller fence on top of an existing one during a wind is like adding a sail to your car and hitting the freeway at 60.

    But little things like 'thinking clearly' and 'obeying the intent of the law' or 'considering other people' seem to escape the last GOP vice presidential candidate.


  14. Thank you for your comment, Urbane Gorilla...

    After reading other people's comments about what a hazard this fence will be, I was curious as to what exactly would make this fence a "safe" structure.

    I don't think Todd and his snowbilly pals were smart enough to bury the foundation deep enough to make this 14' monstrosity stable...

  15. I would be curious to knowif anyone has questioned the distance betweenhighfence and the house McGinniss is renting?

    One of the (above) photos makes it appear as if the 'fence on a fence' is less than the standard margin (forget the term for this space), meaning the entire structure could have been built too close to begin with. Like the original, shorter fence version was ok because it was short but now that it's more than a story tallit's dangerously too close to the (rented) house.


  16. I think you may be referring to the setback, but I think that imaginary line is only for buildings. I had thought about this I didn't really think there was any real problem with where the fence was built - just how it was built...

  17. There are ususally city codes determining distances between structures whether on the same property or adjoining porperties. Fences can't normally be built just 'anywhere'. They usually signify the edge of a property line, for example.

    Fire codes come into play when structures are built side by side. Health codes come into play with the laying of plumbing.

    'Screen fences' are one thing - but normally a screen fence allows for light and doesn't provide a 14ft. wall of tinder that could easily ignite, endangering the occupants of the closest house.

    This is just mean and the owner of the house should have every right to tear it down - especially if it happens to be ON their property and not the Palin's.


  18. It would be interesting to do a site survey. I would be curious to see if Todd and the snowbillies built it on their lot or on their neighbors...

    If I were the owner of that property, I would look into this and exhaust every channel, but I suspect that Palin may have the city of Wasilla in her pocket... after all, she probably brought that podunk little town so much attention that they have been reeling for the past two years...

  19. Palin’s insinuation of pedophilia via FB is yet another reckless over reaction for someone trying to convince electorate she’s suited for POTUS. The biggest threat to Palin’s daughters is Sarah/Todd, who from day one of RNC 2008 have presented them as sexual objects, as Sarah herself conjuring up images of lawn mowing in tank top and shorts, to the “re-virginized” Bristol on Oprah, to false charges of intended “gang rape” of Willow (before Letterman feud) Thanks to the Palin’s towering intellect, the world knows what side of the home Piper’s bedroom windows are (w/ pics and vids) in their isolated, wooded home w/questionable security (leaves windows open all summer) The Palin’s are displaying stunning idiocy, reflexive childishness, and are close to paranoid delusional!

    See how deep the Palin Family rabbit hole goes…

  20. @ITK7

    Your comment reminded me of the movie Manhunter, where the serial killer worked in a film developing lab, so he would have an intimate knowledge of his target's home...

    Palin isn't the brightest crayon in the box. Her response to McGinniss' defense interview consisted of more attacks and she continued with the "mama defending her children" shtick, insisting that what she was doing was only self defense...

    She also played dumb to her comments about McGinniss looking into her daughter's bedroom...

  21. This is being misread entirely.
    The code lays out specific circumstances in which you MUST provide >6ft screening.

    It does not mean you can't construct screening (or fencing) elsewhere, nor does it lay out any limitations for the height and location of any fences.

    A lot of places DO create such limits, because these are total eyesores created by crazy people. It kills vegetation on the shaded side. They're hazardous in high winds. It's not an occupied structure, but

  22. i am informed that the fence height is 6 feet and if need to be larger you have to get a permit from the mat su,really not sure about city permits

  23. Well, its nice to know that she changed it back. I wonder if it will become a halfway house for drug addicts again - I guess Palin has no problem with them overlooking her daughter's bedroom... ;)


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