A bitter neighborhood dispute spilled over into City Council chambers on Monday, with a group of neighbors asking council members to force the owner of a Pembury Place home to reverse changes to that property made without required city permits.
Ultimately, council members decided 4-1 to take a middle-ground approach. In exchange for being able to keep his deck and other changes to the property, they ordered homeowner Richard Cohen to permanently maintain foliage and landscaping to screen views and privacy of the neighbors below.
Cohen also will have to pay penalties for not seeking permits before starting work.
Flintridge Avenue residents Garry Stewart, Marilyn Freytag and Bela Lugosi, son of the Hollywood icon of the same name, claimed neighbor Cohen violated their privacy rights and local law by failing to obtain permits before installing a deck that breaches hillside setback requirements and overlooks their backyards from the hillside above.