Chapter 23.52
FENCES AND WALLS

Sections:

23.52.010    Purpose.

23.52.020    Applicability and exemptions.

23.52.030    Permit requirements.

23.52.040    Measurement of fence and wall height.

23.52.050    Height limits.

23.52.060    Fence and wall design standards.

23.52.070    Special fence and wall design requirements.

23.52.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to establish development standards and regulations for fences and walls. The intent of these regulations is to provide for adequate air and light permeability onto lots, adequate buffering between and screening of uses and activities, and provide for the mitigation of noise. [Ord. 8-2011 §23(A), eff. 6-24-2011]

23.52.020 Applicability and exemptions.

Except as provided below, the requirements of this chapter apply to all fences and walls.

A. Fences that are required by Federal or State law or regulation, or which are required by the City for public safety (e.g., temporary construction site fencing) are exempt from this chapter.

B. Walls that are required by a mitigation measure and designed and approved through a tentative subdivision map, tentative parcel map, or major design review for noise attenuation are exempt from this chapter. [Ord. 8-2011 §23(B), eff. 6-24-2011]

23.52.030 Permit requirements.

Except as provided below, no special planning permit or entitlement shall be required for fences or walls except that zoning clearance/plan check shall be conducted in the event that a building permit is required.

A. Design Review Required. A minor design review permit is required for all fences that exceed the standards of this chapter.

B. Retaining Walls. Retaining walls, as defined in this title, may only be constructed as part of an approved grading permit for the site at the time of initial development, as part of a roadway improvement project, or as part of the necessary stabilization of soil for the primary intended use of the property as determined by the City Engineer. [Ord. 24-2015 §11 (Exh. I), eff. 2-12-2016; Ord. 8-2011 §23(C), eff. 6-24-2011]

23.52.040 Measurement of fence and wall height.

Fence and wall height shall be measured as the vertical distance between the lowest finished grade at the base of the fence and the top edge of the fence material. The finished grade shall be that as shown on the approved grading plan for the site at the time of initial development of the residential subdivision, multifamily development, or nonresidential development. In cases where a retaining wall does not require the approval of a grading plan, the finished grade shall be as determined by the City Engineer.

A. Landscape Walls. When a fence or wall is placed atop a landscape wall (as defined in this title), the height of the landscape wall shall be considered as part of the fence or wall for purposes of determining the height of the fence or wall.

B. Retaining Walls. When a fence or wall is placed atop a retaining wall, the height of the fence shall be determined exclusive of the height of the retaining wall such that the top of the retaining wall is considered the finished grade. [Ord. 24-2015 §11 (Exh. I), eff. 2-12-2016; Ord. 8-2011 §23(D), eff. 6-24-2011]

23.52.050 Height limits.

A. General Standards. All fences and walls (except fencing in agricultural and agricultural residential zoning districts as described in subsection (B) of this section) shall comply with the height limits shown in Table 23.52-1 (General Height Limits for Fences and Walls).

Table 23.52-1

General Height Limits for Fences and Walls 

Location of Fence/Wall

Maximum Height

Within required front yard1, 2

3 feet

Within required street side yard1 (i.e., along the street side of corner lots)

 

   5 feet from back of sidewalk

3 feet3

  > 5 feet from back of sidewalk

7 feet

Within required interior side and rear yard1

7 feet4

Within the clear visibility area at the intersections of streets, alleys, and driveways

3 feet

Outside of required yard1

10 feet

Notes:

1. See EGMC Section 23.100.020(Y) for the definition for “Yard (area), required.”

2. The required front yard area is determined by zoning district.

3. The maximum height for fences and walls in the required street side yard may be increased to six (6' 0") feet if a decorative, open wrought iron or tubular steel fence or wall is placed along the street side property line or within the street side yard setback area. This height extension for open view fencing to a maximum of six (6' 0") feet may be placed on top of a solid fence or wall with a maximum three (3' 0") foot height listed in the table. Additionally, a post or pilaster, consisting of masonry, brick, or other solid material, not exceeding eighteen (18 in2) inches square and six (6' 0") feet tall, may be used to support a wrought iron or tubular steel fence at a minimum distance between posts of six (6' 0") feet.

4. The maximum height for fences and walls in the required interior side and rear yard may be increased to eight (8' 0") feet with the issuance of a building permit from the City.

B. Fencing in Agricultural and Agricultural Residential Zoning Districts. In agricultural and agricultural residential zoning districts, the following development standards for fences may be used in place of those listed in subsection (A) of this section without first obtaining approval of a planning permit, provided the fence is constructed (1) as an open view fence as defined by this title and (2) consistent with the following development standards:

1. Within any required yard area the fence may be constructed to a maximum height of six (6' 0") feet.

2. Outside of the required yard area the fence may be constructed to a maximum height of ten (10' 0") feet; provided, that the fence is set back from interior property lines a distance equal to or greater than the height of the fence.

C. Landscape Walls. Landscape walls within required yard areas shall be constructed to a maximum height of thirty-six (36") inches. Landscape walls shall not be used to alter the finish grade of the lot.

D. Retaining Walls.

1. Timing of Construction. As provided in EGMC Section 23.52.030, retaining walls shall only be constructed as part of an approved grading plan for the site at the time of initial development of the residential subdivision, multifamily development, or nonresidential development, as part of a roadway improvement project, or as part of the necessary stabilization of the soil for the primary intended use of the property as determined by the City Engineer.

2. Height Limit. There shall be no height limits for retaining walls when constructed along the exterior property lines of the project or the final interior property lines in the case of a residential subdivision. Otherwise, a retaining wall over four (4' 0") feet in height shall be benched so that no individual wall exceeds a height of six (6' 0") feet, with the depth of each bench a minimum of three (3' 0") feet. [Ord. 14-2017 §3 (Exh. C), eff. 6-23-2017; Ord. 24-2015 §11 (Exh. I), eff. 2-12-2016; Ord. 23-2014 §3 (Exh. A), eff. 10-10-2014; Ord. 8-2011 §23(E), eff. 6-24-2011]

23.52.060 Fence and wall design standards.

A. Open View Fencing. Where fencing is proposed along public frontages of nonresidential and multifamily projects, such fencing shall be open view unless otherwise required to be solid for noise attenuation or screening purposes. Open view fencing shall also be required when located adjacent to open space areas.

B. Fencing Materials. Fences and walls shall be constructed of long-lasting materials and architecturally integrated with the building design and with existing fences/walls on the site, as determined in the sole discretion of the City. Unless approved as a condition of approval or in conjunction with another permit or entitlement, the following limitations apply:

1. Fences and gates approved for screening purposes in residential and agricultural-residential districts shall be solid wood, solid vinyl, masonry, tubular steel, or wrought iron. Agricultural-residential districts may utilize chain-link outside of the required yards, including for fencing approved for screening purposes. No chain-link fencing is allowed within required yards.

2. Fences and gates approved for screening purposes in industrial or commercial districts shall be metal, tubular steel, masonry, or wrought iron. Industrial districts may utilize chain-link within the interior side yard and the rear yard, excluding the front and street side yards, only when adjacent to other industrial zones or uses, including for fencing approved for screening purposes. Chain-link fencing may be used in areas located outside of any required yard, including for fencing approved for screening purposes.

3. Barbed wire fencing shall not be constructed or placed on top of a fence except in agricultural, open space, or industrial areas. Minor design review is required for barbed wire fencing abutting residential or commercial areas.

4. Alternative materials may be approved by the Development Services Director, Zoning Administrator, or Planning Commission as part of a discretionary entitlement approval.

C. Graffiti-Resistant Surface. When required by the Development Services Director or through conditions of approval due to the location and nature of the wall, masonry walls shall be treated with a graffiti-resistant aesthetic surface.

D. Landscaping. All required street side yard areas between the back of sidewalk and fence/retaining wall shall be landscaped and continuously maintained in accordance with EGMC Section 23.54.070. [Ord. 14-2017 §3 (Exh. C), eff. 6-23-2017; Ord. 24-2015 §11 (Exh. I), eff. 2-12-2016; Ord. 31-2014 §3 (Exh. A), eff. 2-13-2015; Ord. 8-2011 §23(F), eff. 6-24-2011]

23.52.070 Special fence and wall design requirements.

A. Screening of Outdoor Storage. Outdoor storage (including all dumpsters, commercial items, commercial construction, or industrial-related materials and equipment within commercial zones) shall be screened in a manner that is attractive and complementary to the principal use and/or structure that it serves. Such screening shall utilize enclosures such as, but not limited to, fences, walls, landscaping, or earthen berms, so that no outdoor storage is visible from any public right-of-way, parks, public trails and adjacent properties. Screening shall also comply with provisions of the City’s design guidelines.

B. Special Fencing for Large Vehicle Storage. Vehicles greater than one (1) ton that are not permitted to travel on public highways as defined in the California Vehicle Code that are stored on property when not part of an active construction project shall be screened from public view.

C. Special Fencing for Agricultural Uses Zones. All fences that enclose livestock in areas zoned for agriculture shall be constructed of an adequate height and shall be designed so as to control and contain such livestock at all times.

D. Special Fencing for Commercial and Industrial Uses Adjacent to Residential and Agricultural-Residential Zones and Uses. Commercial and industrial uses shall be screened from adjacent residential and agricultural-residential zones and uses by a masonry wall or similar solid wall with a minimum height of six (6' 0") feet to screen the commercial use. This requirement is not intended to preclude the development of pedestrian/bicycle access points between commercial and residential or agricultural zones.

E. Special Fencing for Multifamily Uses Adjacent to Residential and Agricultural-Residential Zones and Uses. Multifamily uses shall be screened from adjacent residential and agricultural-residential zones and uses by a solid wall. The design and material of the solid wall shall be determined during the design review process.

F. Temporary Fences. Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to prohibit the erection of a temporary fence around construction projects in compliance with the California Building Code and other applicable provisions of the Elk Grove Municipal Code.

G. Maintenance. Fences and walls shall be continuously maintained in an orderly and good condition, at no more than their maximum allowed height. [Ord. 8-2011 §23(G), eff. 6-24-2011]