A. Purpose. The fencing requirements in this section are intended to advance public safety, maintain and protect property values, to enhance the city’s appearance, and to visually unify the city and its neighborhoods. This section contains general standards applicable to all fences (regardless of zoning district), and specific standards for fences within the residential, commercial, and institutional use zoning districts.
B. Fence Height Regulations. The minimum or maximum height requirements as stipulated throughout this chapter shall be considered to be met if the height of the fence is within six percent of the height required. The height of the fence shall be determined from the existing, established grade on the property to the highest point of the fence.
1. Notwithstanding any other provisions regarding fence height, the height of any portion of a fence may not reduce the sight distances established by the engineering design standards for vehicular and nonmotorized transportation facilities.
2. Fences and walls built interior of the required setback areas may be as high as the maximum building height allowed within the applicable zone.
3. Building permits are required for fences exceeding 84 inches in height.
4. The addition of lattice, trellis, and other similar features of a fence shall count towards the overall height and opaqueness of a fence.
5. If a fence sits upon or is elevated by a retaining wall, the height of the fence is measured from the base of the retaining wall. Building permits may be required for fences erected on retaining walls.
C. Fence Height Regulations by Zoning District. The following regulations shall apply in the R-1, R-5, R-7, R-10, R-16, R-20, R-MHC, RO, RO-H, I, C-N, C-1, C-2, C-4, and DUC zones:
1. Fence heights shall not exceed the following in each of the required setback areas, as regulated per each zone:
a. Front setback1: 42 inches; provided, that fences constructed of chain link, wrought iron or similar materials that provide visibility, as defined herein, may be 72 inches in height;
b. Side setback: 72 inches;
c. Rear setback: 72 inches;
d. Street side setback: 72 inches.
1The front setback for residential zones pertains to the front setback for single-family residence per box E1 of the table shown in ACC 18.07.030.
D. Screened Fences and Sight-Obscuring Fences.
1. Fence visibility is defined per ACC 18.04.373. In certain circumstances, the city engineer may determine that a fence that is 50 percent or less opaque does not provide visibility if the angle through which the fence is being viewed for sight distance analysis increases the perceived opacity of the fence to 50 percent or higher.
2. Screened fences are defined per ACC 18.04.372.
3. Sight-obscuring fences are defined per ACC 18.04.374.
1. When landscaping is required along the property line and the property line abuts the right-of-way, the fence shall be placed interior to the required landscaping. The fence may not obscure such landscaping unless authorized through the land use or architectural and site design review process.
2. At other property lines, the landscaping shall be located to serve the greatest public benefit.
3. Fencing shall be placed such that it does not damage existing landscaping.
F. Access and Obstructions.
1. If a fence includes a gate or similar feature to allow vehicle passage, the gate shall be placed within the interior of the lot a sufficient distance to provide a vehicle refuge area within the driveway exterior of the fence to avoid blocking the street. The vehicle refuge area shall have a length that is sufficient for a waiting vehicle and not block the street, sidewalk, or right-of-way, in accordance with the engineering design standards.
2. Any fence located within a front yard setback that features a locking gate or similar security device, that cannot be opened from the exterior, shall provide emergency access in a manner acceptable to the fire marshal.
3. In no case shall any fence, hedge, or other obstruction be constructed, grown, or located, such that it deters or hinders the fire authority from gaining access to any fire authority connection, fire protection control valve, fire hydrant, or fire authority appliance or device. Minimum clearance requirements for fire hydrants shall be in accordance with the engineering design standards.
4. In no case shall any fence, hedge, or other obstruction be constructed, grown, or located, such that it obstructs the visibility of any fire hydrant from a distance of 150 feet, in any direction, of vehicular approach to the hydrant.
5. In no case shall any fence, hedge, or other obstruction be constructed, grown, or located in a manner which interferes with access to water, storm, or sanitary sewer manholes, and utility meters, and other city appurtenances which require access for maintenance purposes.
6. Unless explicitly permitted by easement language, fences are prohibited within city utility easements except as may be authorized by the city engineer.
G. Other than in the P-1, M-1, or M-2 zones, no fence may include the use of barbed wire, including concertina, razor, or similar wire; provided, that pasture areas a minimum of one acre in area may be fenced with barbed wire in any zone. Barbed wire may be attached to the top of, and in addition to, the height of a 84-inch fence in the above zones, provided it does not extend more than 12 inches in height.
H. Electrically charged fences shall only be allowed within the RC, R-1, C-3, M-1, M-2, LF, or I zones and shall adhere to the following standards. These standards shall not apply to underground or invisible pet fences that are used to contain small domestic animals.
1. Within the RC and R-1 zones the electrical charge of an electric fence must be noncontinuous and the electric fence controller shall be approved by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or meet the testing standards of Underwriters Laboratories. It is further provided that electric fences in the RC and R-1 zones that abut any public street or right-of-way shall include warning signs consistent with subsection (H)(2)(e) of this section.
2. Within the C-3, M-1, M-2, LF, or I zones, the construction and use of electric fences shall be allowed in the city only as provided in this section and subject to the following:
i. The energy source (energizer) for electric fences must be provided by a storage battery not to exceed 12 volts DC. The storage battery is charged primarily by a solar panel. However, the solar panel may be augmented by a trickle charger.
ii. The electric charge produced by the fence upon contact shall not exceed energizer characteristics set forth in the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards.
b. Perimeter Nonelectric Fence or Wall. No electric fence shall be installed or used unless it is completely surrounded by a nonelectrical fence or wall that is not less than 72 inches.
c. Location. Electric fences shall only be permitted around outdoor storage areas. Electric fences and perimeter fencing are allowed in the setback areas provided the applicable requirements of this section are met.
d. Height. Electric fences shall not exceed 10 feet in height.
e. Warning Signs. Electric fences shall be clearly identified with warning signs that read “Warning – Electric Fence” at intervals of 50 feet or less. Signs shall also contain imagery or symbols of or similar to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) warning symbol for electric hazard to alert individuals that the fence is electrically charged (e.g., lightning bolts).
f. Electric fences shall be governed and regulated in accordance with the regulations for alarm permits contained in Chapter 9.30 ACC.
g. Electric fences and gates must also meet all applicable International Fire Code standards.