The City Council has been discussing ways to make City’s existing fence ordinance less restrictive, responding to comments it has received from many residents. 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.

Subsequently, a work session 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. This ordinance was last reviewed on October 18, 2016 City Council worksession. Among the recommended changes, only front yard replacement fences, like the ones on her explanation, 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 recommended that a permit is not required in certain cases, such as decorative rocks and boulders and garden fences with certain conditions. At this meeting, a request was made to include a provision that prevents replacement of front yard fences with chain link. During the work session on February 21, 2017, the issue was raised as to whether the prohibition on front yard fences remains a City priority.

Per the Council request, staff was provided a side-by-side comparison of the County law and the proposed fence ordinance. That comparison is shown below. 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 could be introduced at the following Council meeting.