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Dispute Between Homeowner, Parks Settled with Fences

Jim Mortle's issue with accessing his own garage without using park property is resolved after a title search, split rail fencing and a lot of debate.

If there was one thing everyone could agree on at the Park Board meeting on Monday night, it was to put a final resolution over where homeowner Jim Mortle could park his cars without violating park rules.

Mortle's driveway was technically built on park land before he had moved into the home at the intersection of Lake and Park Drive, near lake access parcel #12. So leaving his cars out in front of his garage after dark could have been seen as a violation of park rules. 

The issue was first raised in October, as neighbors also said Mortle encroached on the roadway that leads to Little Muskego Lake swimming area by placing concrete pavers and plants over the lot lines. The city eventually sought to put a rest to the matter by working with the planning department to more specifically determine those lines, and then had a title search done on the paved roadway that leads to the lake.

The city attorney had advised the Parks Director Craig Anderson that the land was a "parkway" and not a park. This meant that, like every homeowner that lives on a city street, there are rights to use the road to access your property, and right of ways that the city allows homeowners to use with the understanding that it is still city property, after all. (Most mailboxes and trees planted near roads are in the city's right of way, for example.)

However, both Mortle and the Parks board agreed that clarification was needed, if only to make it visibly clear to people using the lake access where Mortle's property bordered the city's property. 

Perhaps the simplest of solutions coming after the most convoluted of debates, a split rail fence will be installed by Mortle to designate the lot line at the lake access (C in the attached photo). Another pair of "bookended" fence posts will be placed at either corner of the entrance off of Lake Drive (marked as A in the photo). An earlier proposal to add a painted stripe was taken out of the agreement.

Mortle has also agreed to remove plantings at the intersection of Lake and Park Drive for the fence post to be installed, as well as plantings and stone where the asphalt ends (labeled B in photo). The city agreed to Mortle could leave in concrete pavers, which overlap their property by about 22 inches. 

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