Chapter 17.20
FENCES AND WALLS

Sections:

17.20.010    Requirements.

17.20.010 Requirements.

No person shall construct any fence in the City of Airway Heights without first obtaining a permit from the Building Department. A site plan must be submitted showing the property lines, location, length, height and type of fence being installed. A survey may be needed if applicant cannot locate property markers. This chapter does not apply to fences or walls 30 inches or less in height, measured from grade, unless such a wall is structurally supporting additional weight from a building or parking area.

A. Residential fences, landscape walls and decorative posts may be constructed of wood, stone, brick, wrought iron, chain-link and wire mesh, except wire mesh is not permitted within the street yard or the side street yard. Residential fences shall not exceed three and one-half feet in height when located within the front yard setback, and shall not exceed six feet in any other part of the property.

1. Berms may not be built to increase fence height; fence is measured from the existing ground level as measured from the outside of the property line. A two-inch gap may be permitted below the fence, which allows the fence to measure at six feet, two inches.

2. Replacement of fences with prior permits is permitted; new fences and fences without permit require a building permit application.

3. A variance of the fence height regulations may be granted if, after investigation by the planning department, it is found that site or terrain or nuisance animal conditions warrant a waiver of height restrictions.

4. Barbed wire may not be used in fencing for any residential use, including those in nonconforming zones.

5. Fence height measurements:

a. For chain-link fences, the fence line height is measured from the top of the fence post to the existing grade.

17.20 Figure 1

b. For picket fences, the fence line height is measured from the top of the fence pickets to existing grade.

17.20 Figure 2

c. For privacy fences, the fence line height is measured from the top of the fence pickets to existing grade, irrelevant of whether the fence has decorative caps, as long as they are no higher than four inches.

17.20 Figure 3

d. Fence line height is measured from the top of the horizontal fence line of the exterior face to the existing grade. The horizontal fence line is defined as the horizontal line from top of fence post to fence post. If the topography at grade is sloped in parallel, the fence shall be installed in a stepped fashion or sloped with the grade; see Figure 4. A maximum four-inch variance is allowed from grade to bottom of each fence lath when topography is inherently uneven. However, the fence line height shall not exceed six feet.

17.20 Figure 4

e. Fences built on retaining walls shall be measured from the existing elevation, prior to construction of a retaining wall, to the top of the fence.

17.20 Figure 5

B. Nonresidential fences, landscape walls and decorative posts may be constructed of wood, stone, brick, wrought iron, chain-link and wire mesh. Nonresidential fences shall not exceed three and one-half feet in height when located within a required front setback, and shall not exceed six feet when located in any other part of the yard.

C. Temporary fences are permitted for up to 180 consecutive days or for intervals not exceeding an aggregate of 180 days in any calendar year. A temporary fence does require a fence permit.

D. Front yard hedges, fences, and walls that are continuous in length shall have one access opening a minimum of 36 inches in width and shall remain unobstructed by any items other than a gate in order to form a clear passage to the street. Fences, walls, and hedges which existed before the adoption of the ordinance codified in this section that exceed the prescribed height or access opening requirements and pose a life safety hazard as to ingress and egress shall be required to provide such access points as defined in this chapter.

E. No electric barbed wire or razor wire may be maintained in any residential, commercial, open space or recreational zone.

1. Electric fences shall be for the confinement of animals and shall conform to the Washington State Rules and Regulations for Electrical Wiring, Chapter 19.28 RCW, as to voltage, amperage, and safety factors, and shall be energized only with Underwriters Laboratories approved equipment. Electric fences shall be marked with warning signs spaced every 100 feet along the fence.

2. If permitted, barbed wire, not exceeding three strands, may be permitted at the top of a fence; providing, that the arms do not project over public property. The minimum height to the bottom strand of the barbed wire shall not be less than six feet from finished grade.

3. In all cases where a barbed wire fence is requested, an application shall be made to the Building Official.

4. A certificate of insurance indemnifying the City of Airway Heights shall be submitted with the application for barbed wire fencing subject to approval from the City Attorney.

F. Swimming pools, both public and private, shall be surrounded by a six-foot-high fence, with a gate having latching hardware operable only from the pool side of the fence.

G. Notwithstanding any provision of the currently adopted International Residential Code, a permit must be obtained from the City before any fence is constructed. The fee for such permit shall be in accordance with fees specified in the currently adopted International Residential Code fee schedule or as revised by the City.

H. All fences shall be maintained in a structurally sound manner. (Ord. C-675 § 255, 2008)