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Parents Of Boy With Autism, Neighbors In Fight Over Fence

Sean and Lisa Flynn say this fence in their back yard is necessary to keep their son safe. (CBS)

Sean and Lisa Flynn say this fence in their back yard is necessary to keep their son safe. (CBS)

Pamela Jones Pamela Jones
Pamela Jones serves as a general assignment reporter for CBS 2...
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MOKENA, Ill. (CBS) – They say strong fences make good neighbors, but not in one southwest suburb.

The fence in one family’s yard is causing a fuss, but the owners say it’s a life-saver.

CBS 2’s Pamela Jones reports why neighbors have demanded they take it down.

When 7-year-old Brock Flynn takes off running, he doesn’t stop.

He has autism.

That urge to run, his parents Sean and Lisa Flynn say, could lead Brock to serious danger if he strays from their yard. So, their solution was to build a fence to protect him.

The village says the 25-foot section is illegal because of a homeowner’s covenant that bans building permanent structures on a conservation easement.

The fence stands over protected land.

“Honestly, I knew it was there because it was in all my title paperwork. I didn’t even think much of it,” Lisa Flynn says.

The Flynn family got a permit from the village of Mokena, and it specifies the fence must stay completely out of the easement.

The family left a section open from last August until May of this year. But they say their son darted out several times and was almost run over.

“Something like that could have been terrible. At that point I realized we needed the fence,” Sean Flynn says.

They finished the fencing, and a neighbor complained. The Oaks of Mokena Homeowners Association took action.

“We worked with them to try and come up with a solution so that they could have as much fence as possible,” association treasurer Jim Schmidt says. “So what we did as an association is, we reached out to the Flynns and said to them, ‘Hey, what happened?’ They didn’t respond.”

The Flynns say that’s not true, and so the back and forth over the fence continues. The homeowners association says it doesn’t have the power to grant an exception.

It would take a unanimous vote from some 82 residents to agree to let this family keep the fence.