Fence Me In

April 20, 2006

We’ve been ringing our bells for the past few weeks about the Fence Ordinance and wanted to make sure that everyone was fully aware of what we may be facing. The existing Ordinance is already very restrictive. We think any further broadening of the Ordinance would really make us feel penned in about what we could do to our own lands. The purpose of the fence/gate review should be to streamline the process.

As you will recall, the Town hired a consultant to review the approval process when folks want to do things with their land. The consultant came up with 13 ways that the Town might improve the process, including “a menu of standard design options and amenities and set design standards as much as possible to reduce variability at the Architecture & Site Review Board”. The goal was not to change or increase the restrictiveness of the Code or allow it to continue to be arbitrary based on the taste and biases of the ASRB. We’re worried that soon, just trying to repair or restore your fence will mean a long process of getting the small changes reviewed.

If you are also concerned that the existing Fence Code is already too restrictive and are worried that it could get even harder to have the fence or gate of your choosing then please – fill out the fence questionnaire, come to the meetings and write to the Town to voice your views. That’s why we’ve been moo-ing so loudly. We can’t afford to just chew our cud and stand by. There will be more meetings as well, so we’ll have Belle-Cow Alerts to keep you posted.

Below are the current code requirements. We think you’ll agree that they are pretty tough already. We don’t need stricter standards.

What the Existing Fence Code Already Requires:

Unless it’s for the repair or replacement of existing fencing of less than 100 linear feet – all fences, walls, gates & pylons require Planning Staff review and a fence/gate permit. If a fence is over 6 feet in height or a wall is “retaining” soil or a gate is electrified a building permit is also required.

Staff refers some fencing, walls and gates to the ASRB ; such as solid fence; fences closer than 50 feet to roadway (30 feet if the housing is zoned R-1), chain link, and non-rural fencing and we have herd that they also refer fences and gates that they don’t like or that a neighbor doesn’t like.

Height Setback from driving surface of road Review Body
Open Fences Front Yard – public road

Except Chain link

4 ft or under

4 + ft to 6 ft

10′

20′

Staff
Open Fences Front Yard — private road

Except Chain link

4 ft or under

4 + ft to 6 ft

5′

10′

Staff
Open Fences other/

Chain link

A.S.R.B. in most cases
Solid Fences/Walls Front Yard – public road 4 ft or under

4 + ft to 6 ft

10′

50′ (30′ in R-1 zone)

A.S.R.B. if closer than 50 ft.
Solid Fences/Walls Front Yard – private road 4 ft or under

4 + ft to 6 ft

5′

50′ (30′ in R-1 zone)

A.S.R.B. if closer than 50 ft.
Pylons 6 ft

(7 ft to top of light if used)

50′ (30′ in R-1 zone) A.S.R.B. Possible
Open Style Gates 7 ft. max. (Avg. of 6 ft) 25 ft (plus length of gate if gates swing outward) A.S.R.B. Possible
Solid Gates 7 ft. max. (Avg. of 6 ft) 25 ft (plus length of gate if gates swing outward) A.S.R.B. Probable
Athletic Courts

Public and Private Roads

12 ft maximum Front:

R-1 Zone: 30 ft SR, RR & SCP Zones: 50 ft

Side/Rear: 15 ft

A.S.R.B. Possible

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