• April 23, 2013
Fence by Marlana Shipley

Fence by Marlana Shipley

Mark 12:31:  “Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”  (The confusing use of the plural there in the second sentence of the biblical verse is due to the first commandment, referenced in the previous verse:  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”).

These may be very good words to live by, but what do they mean in terms of day-to-day decision-making?

For example, when Jay T. Nygard of Orono got angry at his neighbor because he felt the neighbor’s fence was ugly?  Or when his neighbors, Peter Lanpher and Penny Rogers, sought bids to strip the paint off their own fence that Nygard applied without permission?  Lanpher and Rogers wished to restore the fence to its “natural condition” and impose the cost on Nygard.

I stare at the words of the commandment but still I am not sure how or if the Orono dispute could be resolved by strict adherence to it.  If I am ever called to answer for violating the commandment, I might challenge it as “void for vagueness.”

In the mean time, however, I am happy to report that, to date, I have dealt with my neighbors to the North and West and the decrepit fence between our homes without rancor or litigation.

If you have not been so fortunate, see the linked decision and you might find particularly interesting or odd the provision in Minnesota law for the use of “fence viewers.

Aside:  Nygard…Nygard… name ring a bell?

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