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City to Revisit Fence Ordinance

At tonight’s Council meeting, the City Council will revisit the City’s fence ordinance.

As you may recall, there was a listening session on the fence ordinance in December 2015 and the Advisory Planning Commission made recommendations for changes to the ordinance earlier this year. Council discussed changes in October 2016, however we put off making a decision on whether to make any changes.

The proposed changes attempt to bring clarity by adding/modifying definitions, adding the ability to have a garden fence without obtaining a permit and clarifying that any hedge or natural growth creating a barrier to lot access is considered a fence.

The proposed changes would prohibit using chain link to replace front yard fences, even if there is currently chain link in place.

Additionally, there has been discussion of offering financial incentives to residents who replace chain link fence with wrought iron, split rail, or picket.

Last October we had some lively and informative online discussion about benefits and pitfalls of the ordinance and also some history of how the ordinance was first passed. It would be beneficial at this point to hear comments on whether residents favor adoption of the proposed changes, keeping the ordinance as is or doing away with the City’s fence ordinance and relying only on the County’s fence ordinance.

The County though its update of the zoning code for the County has made changes to the County fence ordinance. We will ask staff to go over the changes to the County’s fence ordinance and describe any impacts on the City ‘s fence ordinance.

It would be beneficial at this point to hear comments on whether residents favor adoption of the proposed changes, keeping the ordinance as is or doing away with the City’s fence ordinance and relying only on the County’s fence ordinance. The proposed changes can be found at page 35, http://www.collegeparkmd.gov/document_center/MayorCouncil/Agendas/2017Worksession/022117WSP.pdf

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