:: Homeowners fight subdivision for OK of child-safety wall | StarNewsOnline.com ::

Homeowners fight subdivision for OK of child-safety wall

Special-needs rules don’t apply, officials tell Clayton couple

By Peggy Lim,
McClatchy Newspapers

Clayton, N.C. | Hunter Guyader, 2, shows signs of autism, and he is a climber. He broke out of his crib when he was 11 months old. He almost fell from an upstairs window while scaling a couch.

Michele and Rene Guyader hoped to build a 6-foot fence to keep their fast-growing boy from falling into a sewage drain hole at the back of their steeply sloping lot. The homeowners association of their Clayton subdivision turned them down.

Although a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study released in February says that about 1 in 150 children born in the nation have autism or a related disorder, getting accommodations for such children can still be a struggle in private neighborhoods.

A privacy fence that tall “just creates a wall,” said Rob Bailey of the architectural review committee. The Guyaders appealed the decision based on their son’s special needs.

“It’s not, ‘Gee, I want a 6-foot fence because I don’t like my neighbors,’●” said Michele Guyader. “I like my neighbors, but I also like my son, and I want to see him safe.”

North Carolina is one of only six states the federal government has certified for incorporating Americans With Disabilities Act accessibility guidelines in building codes. But such rules are geared toward public or commercial buildings or dwellings such as nursing homes. They specify widths for wheelchair-accessible toilet stalls or the minimum percentage of units in apartment complexes that should be accessible…


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