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Chapter 18. General Zoning Ordinance

Sec. 18-106. Fencing Standards

(1) Purpose: The purpose of this section is to regulate the materials, location, height, and maintenance of fencing, and decorative posts in order to prevent the creation of nuisances and to promote the general safety and welfare of the public.

(2) Applicability: The requirements of this Section apply to all fencing and decorative posts equal to, or exceeding, 36 inches in height, in all zoning districts.

(3) Review and Approval: All fences which are equal to or greater than 36 inches in height located in any district shall obtain a building permit from the Building Inspector before commencing construction.

(a) Permit application and site plan. A building permit application for a fence shall consist of a standard building permit application together with a site plan. The site plan must show abutting streets, lot lines and their dimensions, existing buildings, the proposed fence location and proposed setbacks. A drawing or picture of the fence indicating its style, height, and shall also be provided.

(b) Exemptions from permit. Snow fencing shall be permitted in all districts not exceeding 4 feet in height provided it is removed between May 1 and November 1 of each year. Decorative fences and garden fences not exceeding 36 inches in height are exempt provided they do not present a hazard to pedestrians on any public or private sidewalk. Other fences exempt from permits include pet enclosures within the buildable area for the principal structure.

(c) Exceptions to the requirements of this section may be granted through a conditional use permit.

(4) Standards:

(a) Materials:

1. Residential fences shall be constructed using residential-style fencing including, but not limited to, naturally resistant or treated wood, brick, natural stone, masonry, wrought iron, vinyl, galvanized and/or coated chain link (minimum thickness of 9 gauge and a required top rail support). Chain link fence slats are subject to provisions of this section regarding open and solid fences.

2. Nonresidential fences shall use the materials listed in Subsection 1., above. Corrugated metal or other solid metal fences may only be used in the CMU, LI, and GI zoning districts.

3. Except of a security fence, any fence within any residential or mixed use within the required or provided front yard, whichever is less restrictive, shall be a maximum of 50 percent opaque (such as a wood or metal picket or wood rail fence), except with the granting of a conditional use permit per Section 18-161.

4. Wire mesh and chain link fencing is not permitted within the required or provided front yard, whichever is less restrictive, in the RH-35, SR-2, SR-3, SR-4, TR-6, MR-12, MR-24, and MH-8 zoning districts, except when used in conjunction with parks, schools, and airports.

5. Barb wire fencing is only permitted on the top of security fencing when located at least 6½ feet above the ground.

6. Temporary fencing, including the use of wood or plastic snow fences for the purposes of limiting snow drifting between November 1 and April 1, protection of excavation and construction sites, and the protection of plants during grading and construction is permitted. Permits are not required for temporary fencing.

(b) Location:

1. On all properties, no fence or decorative post shall be located closer than 3 feet of the right-of-way line in the provided front yard, provided street side yard property line, or when abutting an alley.

2. Fences shall be located within any property line abutting a side or year yard.

3. All fences must meet the visibility standards in Section 18-102.

4. Fences may be located within easements per the provisions of the easement.

5. Replacement of fences existing as of the effective date of this Chapter in their current location shall be permitted.

(c) Maximum Height: The maximum height of any fence or decorative post shall be the following:

1. In the SR-2, SR-3, SR-4, SR-6, TR-6, MR-12, MR-24, MH-8 zoning districts:

a. Four feet when located within the required front or provided yard, whichever is closer to the street.

b. Six feet within the side, rear, or street side yard, but not in the required front yard or beyond the front façade of the house, whichever is closer to the street.

2. In the NMU, CMU, UMU, DMU, IP, LI, GI, RD, CD, PD zoning districts:

a. Eight feet when located behind the front façade of the building or required yard, whichever is closer to the street.

b. Four feet when located in the required front yard or between the front façade of the building, whichever is closer to the street.

c. Eight feet for security fences in any yard.

3. Height shall be measured from the ground immediately under the fence to the top of the fence face.

4. Height exceptions:

a. Decorative posts at a minimum spacing of 24 inches may extend 8 inches above the maximum height. This exception is not allowed for front yard fences.

b. To accommodate slopes and/or lawn maintenance, up to 4 inches of ground clearance shall be allowed which will not contribute to the measurement of maximum fence height. This exception is not allowed for front yard fences.

c. Berms with slopes less than or equal to a minimum of 3 feet of horizontal to a maximum of every 1 foot of vertical (i.e. 3:1) shall not contribute to the measurement of maximum fence height.

(d) On Fence Lighting: On fence lighting is permitted and shall conform to all requirements of Section 18-104 as well as the State electrical and building codes.

(e) Orientation: Any and all fences or decorative posts shall be erected so as to locate visible supports and other structural components toward the subject property.

(f) Maintenance: Any and all fences or decorative posts shall be maintained in a structurally sound and attractive manner.

(g) Swimming Pools: Fencing for swimming pools shall be provided per the Model Swimming Pool Enclosure Code established by the National Spa and Pool Institute (NSPI).

Figure 18-106(a): Fencing Standards

18.106a
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Figure 18-106(b): Fencing Standards

18.106b
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Figure 18-106(c): Fencing Standards

18.106c
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