Some neighbors were aghast when they saw massive, ornamental wrought-iron gates last year in front of the English manor at 175 Nottingham Terrace.
The gates are eye-catching, Gothic-style 17 feet and 12 feet tall, respectively, and they were to be the centerpiece of a more than a half-a-million dollar fence that owners Albert and Donna Haid planned to build around the perimeter.
The neighbors - about 150 from Nottingham and surrounding streets signed a petition - hired a high-powered attorney to stop the construction. They succeeded in getting the Buffalo Zoning Board to withdraw its prior approval. The two sides then negotiated an agreement.
“They will get their fence, the offending gates will be coming down, and hopefully the parties will live happily ever after,” attorney Terrence M. Connors said of the Haids. He represented neighbors opposed to the two gates.
Rafael O. Gomez, the Haids’ attorney, expressed satisfaction with the agreement.
“My clients are ecstatic that they were able to reach a resolution,” Gomez said. “They love this property, and are looking forward to having the restoration of the Miller Mansion move forward.”
A covenant in the deed prohibits the erection of gates without gaining approval from neighbors or the original developer. Connors told the Zoning Board last summer that deed restrictions on the property prohibit a fence from being installed without the written consent of the original developer. That developer, he said, was never asked about this fence.
The Zoning Board in June 2015 reversed a 2014 decision that granted a variance for an 8-foot-high fence – 2 feet higher than allowed by the City Code. The board asked the two sides to try to reach a resolution rather than fight in court.
As part of the solution, the Haids will be allowed to use the 8-foot fence fabricated for the site by installing it in a swale, making it appear 6 feet high in accordance with the covenant. There will not be a fence along the northern portion of the property, parallel to Nottingham Terrace, as originally sought.
The property near Delaware Park was built in 1933, and has served as a home, convent and private school over the decades. The Haids bought the mansion for $1.7 million in 2010.