It was a lovely day in the neighborhood until Mr. Jenny lost his view
Jenney obtained a building permit with First Colonial High School shop teacher Maynard West listed as the licensed general contractor on July 16, 1996 - 8 days before records show he bought a lot at 617 Secotan Rd. for $115,000 for construction of his 3,751 square foot home. There was only 1-lot (on Croatan Road itself) between Jenney and a panoramic view of Lake Christine, Rudee Inlet and the resort strip to the north.
Zoning officials said Jenney applied for and obtained a variance to build within 5-feet of his rear lot line. When Thomas and Catherine Cooney bought the lot at 433 Croatan Road, the closing lawyer found that Jenney had his fence 15-feet over on their lot. There are two accounts of the ensuing problem. One is that Jenney told the lawyer, "Sue me" and he didn't move the fence until the lawyer had a suit ready to file in court 3-months later. The second account is Jenney moved it, but 'in his own good time.' Jenney would not answer questions about which version was correct.
When the Cooneys sought a variance identical to the one Jenney had gotten, Jenney appeared and objected. The variance was denied. There are two accounts of what happened next. First is that the Cooneys appealed and zoning officials came out to investigate. They found Jenney had built too close to the property line in violation of his variance and was told either remove the deck from his house or drop his objection. The second is that the Cooneys spent a couple thousand more dollars and 'barely' got the variance on appeal. Jenney would not answer questions about the situation.
Since July sources said Jenney had complained to City Manager James K. Spore and the Zoning Department that the Cooney's grade elevation was too high causing water to drain onto his property. A spokeswoman for Spore said Jenney had not contacted the city manager directlyabout the property. Zoning official Cherie Haner said Jenney had complained to her office and they had ordered elevations to be re-shot and presented to her office as 'as-builts,' plats showing the final elevation. The city required Cooney's builder to pay for the engineering survey, but not Jenney. According to sources, it was discovered Jenney's driveway was 22-inches below elevation. (Above left, puddle of water on Jenney's driveway; right shows driveway declines from road all the way down to the garage)
"I think Jenney is perturbed that those people built in front of him, but the truth is, he could have bought that lot instead of the one he did," one source at the scene of lot inspection pointed out. Since Cooney's built, another house is under construction next to it, leaving Jenney with little except a view of the sky (and the backs of their houses) from his rear deck. (Below Jenney's house is 'sandwiched,' almost hidden, between two larger houses blocking almost all of his original panoramic view of the area.)
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