Chapter 17.68
FENCES, WALLS, ARBORS AND HEDGES

Sections:

17.68.010    Purpose.

17.68.020    Applicability.

17.68.030    General requirements.

17.68.040    Prohibitions.

17.68.050    Potential safety hazards.

17.68.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide regulations for fences, walls, arbors, hedges and other partially or totally sight-obscuring installations or features, to ensure the streetscape is enhanced from such installations, to assure that desirable objectives of providing privacy, security, and screening of properties can be met while limiting unsafe vision obstructions of motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians, and improving the visual qualities and appeal of the community consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. (Ord. 3042 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2571 § 2, 1997).

17.68.020 Applicability.

These regulations shall apply to fences, walls, arbors, hedges and other partially or totally sight-obscuring installations or features within residential zoning districts. Please refer to the following definitions in Chapter 17.08 PTMC: “arbor”; “clear vision area”; “fence”; “natural grade”; “hedge”; “lot line”; “setback (yard requirements)”; and “wall.” (Ord. 3042 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2571 § 2, 1997).

17.68.030 General requirements.

Fences, walls, arbors, hedges and other partially or totally sight-obscuring installations or features may be permitted within any required front, side, or rear setback area specified in Table 17.16.030, or along the edge of any yard; provided, that they meet the requirements below. Building permits may be required for fences over six feet in height or as adopted through the International Residential Code.

A. Not Permitted in Open or Unopened Public Street Rights-of-Way. No fence, wall, arbor, hedge or other partially or totally sight-obscuring installation or feature shall be allowed within any public right-of-way. Exceptions:

1. A right-of-way has been vacated by law.

2. Unless erected by a public entity for the purpose of security and/or public safety.

B. Clear Vision Area. No fence, wall, arbor, hedge or other partially or totally sight-obscuring installation or feature over 30 inches in height which poses a traffic safety hazard shall be located within a clear vision area, defined as a 20-foot-by-20-foot sight triangle measured from the sidewalk, edge of pavement or rolling surface; see illustration below.

C. Maximum Heights. The following maximum heights do not apply to hedges or arbors but apply to fences, walls, and other sight-obscuring installations or features:

1. When within a setback abutting an open or unopened public street right-of-way, the maximum height of eight feet is subject to the following (see illustrations below):

a. The maximum height that is up to 100 percent solid shall be four feet.

b. Any portion between four and six feet in height shall be no less than 50 percent open when viewed perpendicular to the property line. (Note: Standard lattice is only 25 percent open.)

c. Any portion between six and eight feet in height shall be no less than 90 percent open; posts, rails and other framing members are allowed as needed to secure materials such as wire, fine mesh, string or monofilament, but no barbed wire is allowed;

2. When within any rear or side setback not abutting an open or unopened public street right-of-way, the maximum height shall be eight feet;

3. When outside of the required setback area (i.e., toward the center of a lot) the maximum height shall be eight feet;

4. The burden shall rest upon the property owner to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the director the lot line locations.

Allowed percentage of open construction per height of fence or wall

D. Arbors. Arbors are defined in PTMC 17.08.020 as any detached latticework or archway. Except as noted below, an arbor may not be attached to a fence or wall within the required setback area. No portion of an arbor shall exceed 10 feet in height. In addition, the side of any arbor that abuts the right-of-way or is within the setback abutting the right-of-way shall comply with the fence requirements for allowed percentage of open construction and height. Exception: one arbor per property side, used as an entrance or gate, is allowed as a portion of the fence.

E. Hedges. None of the height limits established in this chapter shall apply to hedges, including any closely planted trees or vegetation. However, hedges located in the clear vision area are subject to required maintenance including trimming and/or removal. Hedges shall be sufficiently set back at time of planting so that mature vegetation remains within private property and does not encroach into the public street right-of-way.

F. Maximum heights specified by this chapter shall be measured from the elevation of the natural grade within two feet of the installation on the lower side.

G. All fences and walls shall comply with the requirements of the International Residential Code, as adopted under Chapter 16.04 PTMC. However, it shall be up to the discretion of the building official whether a proposed 90 percent open wire fence up to eight feet tall constructed to the standards issued by the development services department requires a building permit, or is exempt from a building permit. Exemptions for fences and walls that do not require a building permit shall not be construed as relieving the owner of responsibility for maintenance and for compliance with the provisions of this chapter or any other law or ordinance regulating the same. (Ord. 3042 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 3035 § 10, 2010; Ord. 2867 § 2, 2004; Ord. 2571 § 2, 1997).

17.68.040 Prohibitions.

The following is prohibited within the city:

A. Any fence, wall, or other partially or totally sight-obscuring installations or features that have attached to it any barb, spike, broken glass or other pointed or sharp instrument. This prohibition shall not be construed to limit the placement of barbed wire fences less than six feet in height.

B. Any fence or wall in the rights-of-way; see exemptions in PTMC 17.68.030(A). (Ord. 3042 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2571 § 2, 1997).

17.68.050 Potential safety hazards.

No fence, wall, arbor, hedge or other partially or totally sight-obscuring installation or feature over three feet in height shall be placed within five feet of any structure where such installation runs parallel with an outside wall and substantially interferes with access to such structure for fire and public safety purposes. (Ord. 3042 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2571 § 2, 1997).