Chapter 15.20


15.20.010    Definitions.

15.20.020    Conformance to codes.

15.20.030    Fence permit.

15.20.040    Inspections.

15.20.050    Location, height, and material restrictions.

15.20.060    Vision clearance at intersections.

15.20.070    Emergency access may not be impeded.

15.20.080    Sharp extrusions prohibited – Exception.

15.20.090    Electrical fences prohibited – Exception.

15.20.100    Maintenance.

15.20.105    Appeals.

15.20.110    Removal of a fence for city purposes.

15.20.120    Violation – Penalties.

15.20.130    Severability.

15.20.010 Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

A. “Clearview triangle” means a triangular-shaped portion of land established at street intersections which is kept clear of obstructions in such a manner that would limit or obstruct the sight distance of motorists entering or leaving the intersection.

B. “Closed construction” means a fence with more than 50 percent thereof of solid material.

C. “Fence” means any artificial permanent structure, partition or gate erected as a dividing marker, barrier or enclosure.

D. “Front yard” means an open space extending the full width of the lot, the depth of which is the minimum horizontal distance between the front lot line and the nearest line of the main building.

E. “Rear yard” means an open space at the rear of the building, extending the entire width of the lot and measured from the building in the opposite direction from the front yard.

F. “Retaining wall” means a permanent solid wall made of cement, block, stone or similar material to hold back soil generally forming a barrier between a sidewalk or a driveway and a yard.

G. “Side yard” means an open unoccupied space on the same lot with a building, between the side wall line of the building and the side line of the lot. (Ord. 2020-03 § 1, 2020).

15.20.020 Conformance to codes.

A. Any fence erected shall conform to the provisions of this chapter and the provisions of the building code and any other sections of the Toppenish Municipal Code as applicable.

B. Any fence seven feet or more in height shall meet the provisions of the building code. (Ord. 2020-03 § 1, 2020).

15.20.030 Fence permit.

No fence shall be constructed unless a fence permit has first been issued. A written application for such permit shall be made to the city on such form as shall be provided by the city. Fence permit fees shall be established by resolution of the city council, as amended from time to time. (Ord. 2020-03 § 1, 2020).

15.20.040 Inspections.

Two inspections shall be conducted with one occurring prior to and one occurring after the construction of a fence. (Ord. 2020-03 § 1, 2020).

15.20.050 Location, height, and material restrictions.

A. Acceptable and allowed fencing materials to include the following:

1. Walls constructed using masonry, including stone or brick veneer over block, brick, stone-stacked reinforced walls, and split-faced block.

2. Wrought iron or any combination of brick pillars or block with wrought iron.

3. Wood plank fence materials.

4. Vinyl fencing.

5. Walls covered with pre-colored stucco.

6. Chain link fencing.

7. Split wood rail fence materials.

B. All fences shall be placed within the property line. Property corners must be identified by the applicant prior to the construction of a fence.

C. In zoning districts R1, R2 and B1, fences in front yards that are not within the setback area and fences in side or rear yards shall not exceed six feet in height.

D. In zoning districts R1, R2 and B1, fences in front yards within the setback area shall not exceed four feet in height nor be of closed construction, except that a retaining wall within the setback area that is not more than two feet above the lower grade may be topped by a fence of the same height that would otherwise be permitted at the location if no retaining wall existed and that the fence meets all other provisions of this chapter.

E. No fence shall be constructed with a gate that opens into any public right-of-way. (Ord. 2020-03 § 1, 2020).

15.20.060 Vision clearance at intersections.

A. In zoning districts R1, R2, B1 and SP, fences within the clearview triangle established in TMC 17.68.010 shall not exceed two and one-half feet in height and shall not be of closed construction.

B. In zoning districts other than R1, R2 and B1, fences constructed on corner lots at street intersections shall maintain, for safety vision purposes, a clearview triangle. (Ord. 2020-03 § 1, 2020).

15.20.070 Emergency access may not be impeded.

A. No fence shall be constructed that impedes access to fire hydrants. Any fence shall have three feet of clearance on all sides of the hydrant leaving the street side unencumbered.

B. All fences that enclose a structure shall have a minimum of one gate with a minimum width of three feet to allow for emergency ingress and egress to the front of the structure. (Ord. 2020-03 § 1, 2020).

15.20.080 Sharp extrusions prohibited – Exception.

Except on the top of permitted fences having a height of more than six feet, there shall not be attached, affixed or placed any barb, barb wire, spike, or other pointed or sharp instrument. (Ord. 2020-03 § 1, 2020).

15.20.090 Electrical fences prohibited – Exception.

No fence shall be constructed or maintained which is charged or connected to an electrical current, except that fences may be energized by equipment specifically designed for that purpose, provided such fences are enclosed within a nonelectric fence or another suitable buffer to protect the public from casual or accidental contact with the electric fence, as authorized by building permit. (Ord. 2020-03 § 1, 2020).

15.20.100 Maintenance.

Fences shall be maintained so as not to endanger health, life or property. Any fence which, through lack of repair, type of construction or otherwise, endangers health, life or property is declared a nuisance pursuant to TMC Title 8. The city shall serve on the owner of such a fence, or on the agent or person in control of the property upon which such fence is located, a written notice describing the condition which causes a danger to health, life or property and specifying the required repairs or modifications to be made, or requiring the fence or any portion thereof to be removed. The notice shall provide a time limit of no less than 30 days for such repair, modification or removal. If the required repair, modification or removal is not made within the specified time limit, pursuant to TMC 8.04.060, a citation for violation of this section shall be issued to the person upon whom the notice was served. (Ord. 2020-03 § 1, 2020).

15.20.105 Appeals.

Any decision made by the city regarding the issuance of a fence permit may be appealed to the hearings examiner. Application submittal requirements and fees shall be the same as for a zoning variance application pursuant to Chapter 17.76 TMC and the municipal fee schedule. (Ord. 2020-03 § 1, 2020).

15.20.110 Removal of a fence for city purposes.

The city may require the owner of a fence that is on the city right-of-way to remove it at any time at the owner’s expense. If the owner fails to do so the city may remove it at the owner’s expense. (Ord. 2020-03 § 1, 2020).

15.20.120 Violation – Penalties.

Any person, firm, corporation or other legal entity violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed to have committed a civil infraction, and each such party shall be deemed to have committed a separate offense for each and every day or portion thereof during which any violation of any of the provisions of this chapter is committed, continued or permitted, and upon a finding that any such infraction was committed, there shall be a monetary penalty not to exceed $1,000. (Ord. 2020-03 § 1, 2020).

15.20.130 Severability.

If any section, sentence, clause or phrase of this chapter should be held to be unconstitutional or unlawful by a court of competent jurisdiction, such invalidity or unconstitutionality shall not affect the validity or constitutionality of any other section, sentence, clause or phrase of this chapter. (Ord. 2020-03 § 1, 2020).