SECTION 25.30
GENERAL DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS

Sections:

25.30.1    Purpose and Applicability

25.30.2    Fences, Walls, and Hedges

25.30.3    Screening

25.30.4    Outdoor Lighting

25.30.5    Plan Lines and Building Setback Lines

25.30.6    Exceptions to Height Limits and Setbacks

25.30.7    Trash and Recyclable Enclosures

25.30.8    Solar Energy Systems

25.30.1 Purpose and Applicability

This Section provides standards and regulations applying to land uses in all zoning districts. The intent is to guide the location, design, and development of improvements and the operation of new or existing uses. The provisions of this Section shall be applied in combination with other regulations in this Ordinance. Where the Director determines there to be a conflict between these regulations and regulations specific to a zoning district, the most restrictive regulation shall apply.

25.30.2 Fences, Walls, and Hedges

The following regulations apply to the installation of fences, walls, and hedges. Temporary construction fencing is exempt from these regulations.

A.    Definitions. The following definitions shall apply where the terms “open decorative fence”, “solid decorative fence”, or “hedge” are used in this section:

1.    “Open decorative fence” shall mean a barrier that can be seen through. When visible from public view, on- or off-site, the fence shall be constructed with a decorative material, such as wrought iron or tubular metal. On a property with other than single-family residential use, chain-link shall not be considered decorative material.

2.    “Solid decorative fence” shall mean a solid fence or wall that provides an opaque barrier designed in a style, decorative material, or color compatible with any buildings on the site. Solid fences on any residential property need not be designed in this manner.

3.    “Hedge” shall mean any landscaping that obstructs views, other than individual trees at least six feet apart.

B.    General regulations. All fences shall comply with the following regulations:

1.    Location. No fence, wall, hedge, or other structure shall be installed or maintained within 36 inches of any fire hydrant and no closer than 12 inches to any utility (e.g., street lights) or utility cabinet.

2.    Parcels with grade differential. Where there is a difference in the ground level between two sides of a fence (including property line fences), the height of any fence or wall constructed shall be determined by using the fence location finished grade of the higher parcel.

3.    Hillside Overlay District. When proposed in the Hillside Overlay District, fences and retaining walls shall comply with the height requirements established by the Hillside Management Guidelines.

4.    Fences in the Heart of Fairfield Plan Area (HD, HDC, HWT, HO, HR, and HTD zoning districts) shall be limited to open or solid decorative fences, walls, or hedges and shall not exceed a maximum height of 3 1/2 feet. Fences shall be developed behind the required street frontage landscape setback or public right-of-way for Heart of Fairfield Plan zoning districts.

C.    Regulations by land use. Except for as provided in Section B. above, the following regulations shall apply on developed lots.

1.    Single-family residential uses. Fences, walls, or hedges on a property with a single-family home, duet, or duplex shall be limited to a height of 42 inches within 15 feet of the front property line, and to seven feet in height beyond 15 feet from the front property line.

2.    Multifamily residential uses and churches. An open decorative fence may be installed on a multifamily property to a maximum height of seven feet in height along any property line. The fence may be built to the edge of sidewalk with an encroachment permit issued by the Public Works Department. With the written approval of the Police Department, the maximum height may be increased to ten feet for an open decorative fence that is set back at least ten feet from the property line. Any solid decorative fence or hedge may be installed to a maximum height of six feet at the required building setback line.

3.    Nonresidential Land Uses in Residential Zoning Districts. Fences for nonresidential uses in any residential zoning district shall meet the same design and setback standards as fences for residential land uses as outlined in Sections C1 and C2 above.

4.    Commercial. Fencing on any property with a commercial zoning designation shall comply with the following regulations:

a.    Any open or solid decorative fence, wall, or hedge eight feet or less in height may be installed in any location up to the required street frontage landscape setback identified in Table 25-10: Commercial District Development Regulations. Any fence, wall, or hedge greater than eight feet in height shall comply with all required building setbacks. Fencing in the Heart of Fairfield zoning districts shall comply with the required street frontage landscape setbacks in Table 25-H2: Development Regulations for Commercial (Non-Residential) Buildings and Table 25-H3: Development Regulations for Multifamily Buildings.

b.    In addition to the provisions in a. above, any commercial property owner may have installed an open, decorative fence up to ten feet in height in any location up to the required street frontage landscape setback identified in Table 25-10 with the written permission of the Fairfield Police Department.

c.    Vinyl-clad chain-link fencing may be installed at the rear of buildings if not visible from public areas on- or off-site, or any public right-of-way (e.g., vinyl-clad chain link shall not be used along a street-side property line).

d.    Screening for outdoor storage shall be installed in compliance with Section 25.32.9, Outdoor Seating, Display, and Merchandise Storage.

5.    Industrial. Fencing for any property with an industrial zoning designation shall comply with the following requirements:

a.    Any open or solid decorative fence, or hedge 12 feet or less in height may be installed in any location up to the required front building setback line identified in Table 25-12: Industrial District Development Regulations. Any fence, wall, or hedge eight feet or less in height may be installed in any location up to the required street frontage landscape setback line identified in Table 25-12. Any fence, wall, or hedge exceeding 12 feet in height shall comply with all required building setbacks.

b.    Vinyl-clad chain link fencing may be installed along any interior side property line.

c.    In the Light or General Industrial zoning districts, galvanized chain link fencing shall be permitted along any interior side or rear property line only where no landscape setback is required (see Table 25-12).

d.    Screening for outdoor storage shall be installed in compliance with Section 25.32.9 (Outdoor Seating, Storage, and Merchandise Display).

D.    Regulations for specific types of fences. The following regulations shall apply in all zoning districts:

1.    Fences on corner parcels. No fence, wall, hedge, or other visual obstruction over 24 inches in height shall be constructed where traffic visibility will be impeded, i.e., in that portion of a street corner that is located within the triangle formed by the intersecting curb lines and a line connecting the points drawn 30 feet away from their point of intersection on the lines (see Figure 25-3: Traffic Safety Visibility Area).

Figure 25-3: Traffic Safety Visibility Area

This requirement shall not apply to: official warning signs or signals; public utility poles and cabinets; trees trimmed (to the trunk) to a line at least six feet above the elevation of the intersection; and saplings or plant species with open growth habits and not planted in the form of a hedge, which are so planted and trimmed as to leave, at all seasons, a clear and unobstructed cross-view.

2.    Noise attenuation or privacy fences and walls. For those portions of a parcel that abut a public park (existing or planned), a railroad, or any restricted access roadway (freeway, expressway, parkway, etc.), the maximum fence or wall height permitted shall be eight feet. The approval authority may grant Minor Discretionary Review approval for a higher fence if the applicant has provided substantial evidence (e.g., a noise study) warranting the higher fence to comply with the General Plan noise standard. The review authority may also approve a fence higher than eight feet at the time of approval of a development project.

3.    Razor or barbed wire fences. Razor, barbed or similar type fences or walls shall be prohibited on developed parcels when visible from adjacent properties, public areas, or public rights-of-way. Razor or barbed wire fences not visible from public areas or public rights-of-way shall require approval by the Director. A sign shall be installed on the outside of any fence or area containing razor or barbed wire that clearly communicates the existence of the razor or barbed wire.

4.    Fences between residential properties. Any fence, wall, or hedge behind the front setback between two or more residential properties may be installed to a maximum height of eight feet provided that all property owners that abut the proposed higher fence provide written consent to the Department.

5.    Fences on undeveloped parcels. Any fence up to seven feet in height shall be permitted on undeveloped parcels, except in the OSC zone. Chain link fence shall be permitted when the fencing is vinyl clad within 200 feet of any street. Fences are permitted in the OSC zone up to four feet in height provided they are wire mesh fencing with peeler logs, barbed-wire with tee posts, or a “cattle fence,” as identified in standard specifications provided by the Public Works Department. The Director shall be authorized to allow variations to the fence height and materials in the OSC zone.

6.    Fences in the street side yard. Fences in street side yards shall be limited to 42 inches in height, subject to the requirements in subsection D. 1 above. However, fence heights may be raised to seven feet in street side yards subject to the following restrictions, which shall apply to street side yard fences on corner lots where the rear property line of the corner lot abuts the side property line of an adjacent parcel:

a.    When the rear property line of the corner lot is within 15 feet of the driveway of the abutting lot, a seven-foot high fence may be installed in the street side yard of the corner lot not less than 10 feet from the side property line for that portion of the fence within the rear yard setback (see Item A in Figure 25-4: Allowed Fences in the Street Side Yard).

b.    When the rear property line of the corner lot is not within 15 feet of the driveway of the abutting lot, a seven foot high fence may be installed in the street side yard of the corner lot not less than 10 feet from the adjacent curb face (see B in Figure 254).

c.    When the rear property line of a corner lot abuts the rear property line of another corner lot, a seven-foot high fence may be installed in the street side yard of both lots not less than 10 feet from the adjacent curb face (see Item C in Figure 25-4).

Figure 25-4: Allowed Fences in the Street Side Yard

7.    Golf-course interface fencing. On property abutting a golf course or driving range, the Director may authorize the installation of protective netting exceeding the height limit for fences identified in this Section. A Minor Discretionary Review application shall be submitted for Department review prior to installation and a public notice provided as required for a custom home (see Section 25.40.4). The Director, when reviewing the location, height, and design of the netting, shall take into account reasonable concerns regarding both safety and aesthetics. (Ord. No. 2008-08 § 2; Ord. No. 2012-04, § 2; Ord. No. 2014-03, § 2; Ord. No. 2018-03, § 9; Ord. No. 2018-06, § 22.)

25.30.3 Screening

The following screening requirements are intended to establish a visual barrier between different types of land uses and between uses that have the potential to be visually intrusive to adjacent properties and/or public rights-of-way. Screening for outdoor storage shall comply with Section 25.32.8 (Outdoor Seating, Storage, and Merchandise Display).

A.    Screening between residential and non-residential uses. Wherever new non-residential development will abut a residential use or vacant land in a residential zoning district, the developer of the new development shall construct a six-foot high solid masonry wall along the property line abutting the residential use where parking or drive-aisle(s) are proposed to be located within 20 feet of the residential property line. Otherwise, a solid wall or heavy timber fence shall be required. It shall be the responsibility of the non-residential property owner to maintain any wall required by this Section.

B.    Ground-mounted mechanical equipment. In all non-residential zoning districts, ground-mounted mechanical equipment shall be adequately screened from view through the use of concrete or masonry walls, berming, painting and landscaping, except where the equipment is located in the loading or service area of an industrial or commercial building or otherwise out of public view. Screening shall be compatible with other structures on the site in terms of material, color, shape, and size. Said appurtenances shall be indicated on the approved landscape and irrigation plans prior to issuance of building permits.

C.    Roof-mounted mechanical equipment. The installation of any roof-mounted mechanical equipment, such as heating or cooling equipment, and solar collectors shall comply with the following regulations:

1.    Residential mechanical equipment. No heating or cooling equipment, except solar collectors and their necessary supply and return lines shall be mounted on the roof of any residential structure. Should the Director determine that there is no feasible alternative to mounting heating or cooling equipment on the roof, the equipment shall be mounted on the rear roof. Decorative screening that is architecturally compatible with the existing structure and roofline may be required to mitigate offensive views from surrounding properties. This Section shall not prohibit the replacement of existing roof-mounted heating or cooling equipment.

2.    Commercial mechanical equipment. Heating or cooling equipment mounted on the roof of any building occupied for commercial purposes shall be placed below a parapet wall or shall be placed behind decorative screening that is architecturally compatible with the existing structure and roof line.

3.    Solar Energy Systems. Equipment associated with roof-mounted solar energy systems in any zoning district is encouraged to be adequately screened from public view, as provided in Section 25.30.8.

The Director is authorized to grant an exception to the above requirements if the orientation of a particular lot or structure should necessitate. However, measures shall be taken to blend system components into the architecture and roofline of the existing structure. (Ord. No. 2011-03, § 2; Ord. No. 2017-20, § 1.)

25.30.4 Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting of private non-residential property within the City shall comply with the requirements of this Section.

A.    Placement.

1.    Lighting shall be shielded or recessed so that direct light, glare, and reflections are confined to the maximum extent feasible within the boundaries of the site. Lighting shall be directed downward and away from adjacent residential properties and public rights-of -way.

2.    No permanently installed light shall blink, flash, or be of unusually high intensity or brightness, as determined by the Director.

3.    All lighting fixtures shall be of appropriate intensity, scale, and height to the use they are serving so as to avoid creating unreasonable impacts on surrounding property or to draw attention to a property in an unreasonable manner, as determined by the Director.

B.    Submittal requirements. The Director may require complete photometric plans, in addition to all other information and materials required by the Department, for any permit involving exterior lighting.

25.30.5 Plan Lines and Building Setback Lines

A.    Purpose. A plan line may be established where the General Plan identifies or the Council has otherwise determined a need for a new roadway, or for the future widening of an existing roadway. The purpose of a plan line is to:

1.    Identify the future right-of-way width of the new or widened roadway; and

2.    Reserve the area between the plan line and the existing right-of-way for the new or widened roadway.

B.    Procedure. A plan line shall be adopted as required by the California Streets and Highways Code.

C.    Applicability - Setback requirements.

1.    Measurement of setbacks. The front and/or street side setbacks (as applicable) required by Division Two shall be measured from any applicable plan line instead of the property line. On North Texas Street, the Plan Line can be used as the building setback.

2.    Building prohibition. Upon approval of the City of a plan line, no building, wall, fence, or other private structure shall be constructed between the existing street right-of-way and the plan line.

3.    Allowed projections. Projections into the setback areas established by this Section shall be permitted in compliance with Section 25.30.6 (Exceptions to Height Limits and Setback Requirements).

D.    Plan line requirements. The following are hereby established:

1.    Along North Texas Street, from Taft Street north to Manuel Campos Parkway, the distance from the street centerline shall be 70 feet

2.    Along Dover Avenue, from Air Base Parkway north to the City Limits, the distance from the street centerline shall be 42 feet.

3.    Along East Tabor Avenue, from Sunset Avenue east to the City Limits, the distance from the street centerline shall be 56 feet.

25.30.6 Exceptions to Height Limits and Setback Requirements

All structures shall comply with the height and setback regulations established by Division Two, Zoning Districts, with the exceptions identified by this Section.

A.    Exceptions to height requirements. The following structures may exceed the established height limit for the zone in which they are to be located, subject to Director approval.

1.    Chimneys, vents, and other architectural mechanical appurtenances, not including antennas, which are instead subject to the height limits identified in Section 25.32.3.

2.    Towers, poles, water tanks, and similar structures, provided the structure has been located to the rear of the site or other area to reduce visibility from public view and painted to match the building. All appurtenances (e.g., pipes, valves, railing, access ladders, etc.) associated with the structure shall be minimized and, where possible, visually screened.

3.    Any public or quasi-public structure including but not limited to churches, schools, hospitals, government buildings and uses, or similar institutions provided all yard depths are increased one foot for every one foot over the height limit of the district in which they are to be located, to a maximum height of 75 feet.

4.    Flagpoles, on any building that exceeds 40 feet in height, may be placed atop the building but shall not exceed 10 feet in additional height.

5.    Solar energy systems may extend up to ten feet above the height limit in the zoning district in which they are located. The Director may allow a solar energy system that exceeds this additional height if necessary to avoid a significant increase in cost or decrease in efficiency of the solar energy system.

B.    Exceptions from setback requirements. The minimum setback requirements of this Ordinance apply to all development and new land uses, except the following:

1.    In any residential district where 50 percent or more of the properties on any one block in the same zoning district have been improved with buildings prior to adoption of this Ordinance, the required front yard for any residential building in that district shall be a depth equal to the average of the front yards of the improved properties, to a maximum of that specified for the zoning district in which such building site is located;

2.    Where setbacks have been established for individual parcels by a Specific Plan, Development Agreement, approved subdivision map, Conditional Use Permit, or other planned development entitlement;

3.    Driveways, walkways, steps, hot tubs, swimming pools, terraces, and other site design elements that are placed directly upon grade; and

4.    Decks that do not exceed 30 inches in height above the surrounding grade at any point.

5.    With Chief Building Official approval, ramps, walkways, decks, elevators and other structures needed to accommodate the disabled.

C.    Allowed projections into setbacks. Attached architectural features and certain detached structures may project beyond the wall of the structure and into the front, side and rear yard setbacks, in compliance with the following requirements.

1.    Architectural features. Architectural features attached to the principal structure may extend beyond the wall of the structure and into the front, side and rear yard setbacks, in compliance with the following table. See also Figure 25-5.

2.    Equipment. Swimming pool equipment, air conditioning and heating equipment, etc., may extend up to 30” into side yards, and to within 30'' of a rear property line.

Table 25-15: Allowed Projections Into Setbacks

Feature

Allowed Setback

Projection

Chimney or fireplace (1)

2 feet

Columns

2 feet

Cornice, eave, or canopy (2)

4 feet

Cantilevered architectural feature (3)

4 feet

Deck (4)

6 feet

Stairway (5)

6 feet

Notes:

(1)    Chimney or fireplace shall not be wider than eight feet and may project no closer than three feet to any property line.

(2)    Feature may project no closer than 30 inches to any property line.

(3)    Cantilevered architectural features that may project into setbacks include balconies, bay windows, cornices, eaves, and solar devices, and may project no closer than 30 inches to any property line.

(4)    Decks less than 30'' above grade are exempt, in compliance with Section 25.30.6(B) (Exemptions from Setback Requirements), above.

(5)    A stairway may project into a rear setback only and shall not be roofed or enclosed above or below the steps.

Figure 25-5: Examples of Allowed Projections into Side Setbacks

 

(Ord. No. 2009-06 § 2; Ord. No. 2017-20, § 2.)

25.30.7 Trash and Recyclables Enclosures

This Section is intended to provide regulations consistent with the California Solid Waste Reuse and Recycling Access Act (Public Resources Code Sections 42900 through 42911) and the City’s adopted Source Reduction and Recycling Element. All development, except single-family attached and detached dwellings, shall provide trash and recyclable enclosures that comply with the requirements of this Section.

A.    Regulations by land use. New multifamily and non-residential development shall incorporate enclosures for refuse and recycling materials collection as follows:

1.    Multifamily. The enclosure shall be large enough to accommodate bins holding 30 gallons of trash per household and 30 gallons of recyclables per household.

2.    Non-residential. The applicant shall consult the service provider as to the size and location of any enclosure. The location shall be shown in any plans submitted to the City for approval.

3.    Mixed Used Development. Mixed-use development projects, as defined in Section 25.22.4.3 (Mixed Use Residential Development Regulations), shall provide trash and recycling receptacles in aggregate of the amounts identified by this section and/or as required by the service provider.

B.    Location requirements. Exterior refuse enclosure shall not be located in any required front yard, street side yard, landscaped, or open space areas or any area required by the City Code to be maintained as unencumbered (e.g., required parking areas, utility rights-of-way, or easements). In addition, the enclosure(s) shall be conveniently accessible to residents and/or employees.

C.    Design and construction. The design and construction of the storage area shall be compatible with the surrounding structures and land uses; employ a style, materials, and colors to be consistent with any buildings on the property; and designed in compliance with the Trash Enclosure Standard Detail provided by the Director. Trash receptacle(s) shall be enclosed by a six (6) foot high masonry wall with metal, solid view obstructing gates pursuant to City standards. Within multi-family residential projects, all trash enclosures shall be provided with a shade structure. The enclosure shall include a reinforced concrete apron as approved by the Department of Public Works. Trash enclosures shall also comply with all requirements of the Fairfield-Suisun Sewer District and Solano County Environmental Health. (Ord. No. 2011-03, § 2.)

25.30.8 Solar Energy Systems

A.    Definitions.

1.    “Solar energy system” shall have the same meaning as provided in the Solar Rights Act, Civil Code § 801.5(a), as the same may be amended from time to time.

2.    “Solar farm” means a collection of solar collectors arrayed on a ground-mounted support structure for the principal purpose of generating electricity for off-site consumption.

3.    “Small residential rooftop solar energy system” shall have the same meaning as provided in the Solar Rights Act, Government Code § 65850.5(j)(3), as the same may be amended from time to time.

B.    Approvals Required. The applicant shall submit for and receive approval of a building permit prior to installation of any solar energy system, as well as any other permits or approvals specified below. Consistent with Section 65850.5 of the California Government Code, if the solar energy system could have a specific, adverse impact upon public health or safety, the applicant may be required to apply for a use permit. Such a use permit shall be considered according to the requirements of Section 65850.5. Small rooftop residential solar energy systems may be eligible for expedited review pursuant to section 5.1.1 of this Code.

C.    Rooftop and Building-mounted Solar Energy Systems.

1.    Rooftop and building-mounted solar energy systems are a permitted use in all zones.

2.    Rooftop and building-mounted solar energy systems are encouraged to be located and designed to minimize aesthetic impacts without compromising their effectiveness. Solar panels are encouraged to be non-reflective and installed at an angle as close as practicable to the pitch of the building. Any appurtenant equipment is encouraged to be screened from public view, installed in attic space, or painted a color similar to the color of the surface on which it is mounted.

D.    Ground-Mounted Systems.

1.    In all single family residential zoning districts, ground-mounted support frames or structures for stand-alone solar energy systems may be approved through Zoning Clearance if located in rear or side yards and all standards for accessory structures in Table 25-7 are met.

2.    In all other zoning districts, ground-mounted solar energy systems may be approved through Minor Discretionary Review if all Zoning Code setbacks and standards for accessory structures are met.

3.    Any removal of trees to permit installation shall be governed by the Tree Preservation Ordinance as set forth in Section 25.36.

E.    Covered Parking Solar Energy Systems.

1.    Solar energy systems installed over parking lots are subject to Minor Discretionary Review, as provided in subsection D.2 above. The portion of the parking lot covered by the solar panels or solar collectors shall be exempt from the internal landscaping requirements in Section 25.34.10. This applicability of this exemption shall be determined through the Minor Discretionary Review process. All other landscape requirements shall apply.

2.    Any removal of trees to permit installation shall be governed by the Tree Preservation Ordinance as set forth in Section 25.36.

3.    Covered parking solar energy systems shall not result in a net loss of any required parking.

F.    Solar Farms. Solar farms for commercial energy production are considered public or quasi-public utilities, and may be permitted in the IBP, IL, and IG zoning districts subject to Conditional Use Permit approval. (Ord. No. 2017-20, § 3.)