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Look back: Skaneateles lawn bothers neighbors

Look back: Skaneateles lawn bothers neighbors

Look back

Artist Bourke Kennedy sees her yard as a beautiful canvas. But her Skaneateles neighbors differ strongly on her definition of artistry.

Sept. 16, 1995

SKANEATELES — While many people cannot wait to mothball their lawn mowers for the season, some residents here are watching eagerly to see cutting machinery go into action. The village has just passed a law setting a standard for property maintenance.

Bourke Kennedy has lived in an imposing white Victorian house on the main street of Skaneateles for 15 years. The structure, which used to be a nursing home, is three stories high with windows looking down to the lake over a collection of newer homes. Two years ago, Kennedy, who is an artist, stopped mowing her back yard. She said the yard seemed to her a beautiful canvas, and she wanted to get in touch with what Mother Nature had to offer.

But her neighbors on Lakeview Circle did not see a palette when they drove past Kennedy's property. After repeated complaints to the vilalge about the area being unkempt, residents petitioned the village to pass an ordinance requiring regular mowing and trimming. The "Brush, Grass, Rubbish and Weed Control" local law passed unanimously this week and will shortly be put to the test.

The law provides for ample dialog between the municipality and a property owner once a complaint is filed. Any resident has the opportunity for a public hearing with the board. Kennedy said if she is cited, she will invite board members into her garden for the meeting. 

— Compiled by David Wilcox


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