ATWATER VILLAGE (CBSLA) — Sarah Colombo got a courtesy notice in the mail and thought it was a scam.

A few doors down in the Atwater Village neighborhood Dana Schwartz got a similar notice.

“It said if we needed to take care of our wooden gate because of blight in the neighborhood and if we didn’t do anything we would get a $660 fine.”

The letter is legit. It’s from the city of Los Angeles Department of Building and safety.

“Very surprised. Yeah. The word “blight” is a little sad and terrifying. Look around it’s a very charming neighborhood,” Schwartz said.

Luke Zamperini, of Department of Building and Safety described the code in question.

“All fences…either painted or stained or otherwise treated or sealed in an approved manner to prevent their becoming a nuisance from weathering or deterioration.”

“It was sealed when we put the fence up in 2000,” Schwartz said.

She appealed to the city and they agreed, the gate is fine. No $660 fine for her.  Up the street. Colombo says the city takes issue with her front-yard fence.

“It’s supposed to look that way,” she said. “Maybe to an untrained eye it looks like it needs improvements but it’s actually a finished texture we’ve worked really hard to maintain.”

She plans to appeal.  A few blocks away Melissa Lilly is concerned. She said when she lived in Venice she saw the city come after homeowners for costly improvements to their homes. She believes developers were behind that effort and this one too.

“I have no doubt people in the city are in the pocket of big developers.

She said, in Venice, developers got their wish, with homeowners moving out instead of making costly repairs…allowing as she puts it, the hipsters to move in.

“On my block alone. Brooks avenue between 7th & Lincoln, 9 people sold because of that.”

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