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Council to Discuss Changes to City’s Fence Ordinances

At tonight’s Council meeting, the City Council will discuss a number of changes to City Code related to fences in College Park.

City’s Advisory Planning Commission (APC) held a Fence Ordinance Listening Session for the general community on December 3, 2015 which resulted in the APC issuing a letter to Mayor and Council with several recommendations for simplifying and streamlining Section 87-23 Fences in Chapter 87 Building Construction of the City Code.

A major part of the recommendations talks about the clarifications of some of the existing code, and not necessarily adding more restrictions. There are however some additions to the code introduced in the recommendations.

Subsequently, a Worksession between City Council and APC was held to discuss the recommendations, and APC was advised to work with the City Attorney on appropriate revisions to the Fence Ordinance. Among the recommended changes, only front yard replacement fences must be reconstructed of similar materials. The structural support, such as the vertical posts and horizontal rails must face the interior of the subject lot.

Also, the reasons to approve a variance to build a fence may now include a specific parcel of land having exceptional narrowness, shallowness, or shape or other topographic conditions.

APC also recommends that a permit is not required in certain cases, such as decorative rocks and boulders and garden fences with certain conditions.

One of the recommendations is to consider offering financial incentives to discourage the reconstruction or construction of chain link fences. This is not an Ordinance issue and the APC is still exploring ways in which this might be accomplished. The council will discuss and finalize the proposed changes to ordinance at this week’s worksession. Once finalized, the proposed changes will be introduced at the following Council meeting.

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