The clock is ticking for Council Chairman Vincent Gray to do something about his fence. He has 30 days to relocate or lower the black aluminum fence that surrounds his Hillcrest home, according to a letter dated June 9 from the District's Public Space Committee.
Last month, the committee ruled that Gray had not provided sufficient justification to exceed the District's height limit on fences built in the public right of way. The panel, charged with protecting the character of the city's neighborhoods, gave Gray two options to act by July 9: lower his 67-inch fence to the limit of 42 inches or move the fence back to the property line.
Rulings by the obscure but powerful committee are final. Gray is consulting with his attorney, but has "not yet made a decision on whether he will move the fence or decrease the height," his campaign spokeswoman Traci Hughes said Thursday.
The six-month saga of Gray's fence comes as the chairman is challenging Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, who technically oversees the committee that ordered Gray to overhaul the $12,600 fence.Gray installed the fence two years ago without obtaining a permit, and the Department of Consumer Affairs took notice after a series of stories in The Washington Times last December.
Fenty has not publicly commented on the fence, but Attorney General Peter Nickles has said that Gray should have known to apply for a permit.
Gray, who said he thought his contractor was applying, has appealed a series of fines totaling $2,400, which were issued while he was in the process of filing a permit application.