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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 65
Gender: Male
Posts: 31,938
Location: Long Island, New York

03 Feb 2023, 10:51 am

Port Washington approves family's fence to protect child with autism, along with "autistic child area" signs

There's an update to CBS2's exclusive story about a fence fight in Port Washington.

Parents installed it to help protect their child who has autism, but there is a "no fence rule" in the town.

CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reports the zoning board has just approved the fence, and the town is putting up street signs in hopes of keeping the little girl safe.

"Autistic child area" road signs on her Port Washington street are going up for Stella Bovis, the 4-year-old whose struggles became a flashpoint in her neighborhood when her parents put up a picket fence in their front yard to keep her safe.

Amid intense opposition from many in the neighborhood, others in the community have since rallied around them.

"The outreach has been amazing and makes us feel much more welcome," Stevie Bovis said.

Some neighbors went to North Hempstead Town Hall to protest the 4-foot fence. Without a variance, fences are not allowed in Port Washington.

There has been pushback on the fence from over a dozen neighbors who signed a letter. It just seems like it's too high and too close to the road," one neighbor said at the time.

"No. We don't want to speak. No one wants to speak. No one wants this here," another neighbor said.

"No, I don't like it all, and it doesn't match in our neighborhood," another said.

"We are painting the fence white for the neighbors and planting shrubs," Stevie Bovis said.

Until now the Bovis family has felt alone.

"A few of them got together in secret and kind of ganged up on us," father Angelo Bovis said last month.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the fence was just approved by the local zoning board of appeals.

"Despite this happy ending, I still would like to extend my deepest sympathies on behalf of the town as their family was put through an ordeal, and I hope this will raise awareness going forward of what is considered a 'reasonable accommodation,'" North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jennifer DeSena said.

The Bovis family hopes painting the fence and the signs will serve as an olive branch to those neighbors giving pushback, whose children their daughter Stella wants to befriend.

Odd not once in this story is wandering mentioned.

To some of the neighbors not having their neighborhood “polluted” by a fence is more important then the health and well being of a child. That is Long Island for you.

Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman