Director of Planning Howard Koontz said in a memo to the commission that the purpose of the amendment is to make it clear to the city’s property owners the rights and regulations in relation to fences and the uses of fences for screening around private property.
The amendments, which outline maximum height restrictions for fences and where they can and cannot be located, include:
Privacy fences, evergreen trees and bushes, landscape berms and existing vegetation are acceptable ways to create a fence. The amendment added that fences "could not be constructed from trash, rubbish, repurposed household or commercial sundries, waste and/or hazardous materials, including barbed or concertina wire, or other dangerous components."
According to the amendment, privacy fences along a common property boundary can be more than 8 feet in height, unless it falls under a different restriction.
Fences between single- or two-family homes may share or build a fence no higher than 6 feet.
Only fences less than or equal to 3 feet in height will be allowed in front yards for one-and two-family residential uses.
Fences up to 10 feet in height can be allowed for residents trying to prevent or limit access to "electrical substations, wireless telecommunication facilities, public utility facilities and substations, neighborhood swimming pools, correctional facilities, and chemical or equipment storage yards, "where the slope of a line drawn perpendicular to the fence line averages 20 percent or more on either side of the fence over a distance no less than 15 feet, or where the fence forms a continuous perimeter around a subdivision."
Koontz said during the meeting that residents who complied with the fence rules prior to these ordinance changes would not have to make any changes in the future.
"Nobody has to go and change their fence because of this code," Koontz said. "This is primarily for things moving forward. As long as what they had was legal before, then it legal now."
The P&Z commission went back and forth on the details of the amendments. "I'm not sure these rules are as clear as they need to be," Commissioner Jo Fenety said.
After a lengthy discussion, the commission asked that the amendment also include: the maximum fence height to be 6.5 feet, a more defined definition of common property boundaries, an expanded outline of when barbed or razed wire could be used in the cases of agricultural fencing to hazardous protection, temporary fences to block things like construction and historic housing exemption.
The commission approved the amendment 7-0.
On Jan. 16, the amendment will be brought to the City Council for a discussion and vote. There will also be a public hearing for the issue.