Chapter 20.110


20.110.010    Purpose.

20.110.030    Permit, required when.

20.110.035    Application requirements.

20.110.040    General standards.

20.110.050    Retaining walls, fence height.

20.110.060    Earthen berms, fence height.

20.110.070    Dangerous fences.

20.110.080    Residential zone fences.

20.110.090    Commercial zone fences.

20.110.100    Industrial zone fences.

20.110.110    Public reserve/airport development zone fences.

20.110.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to establish the procedures and standards by which fences may be erected within the city of Walla Walla. The fence standards promote the positive benefits of fences without negatively affecting the community or endangering public or vehicle safety. Fences can create a sense of privacy, protect children and pets, provide separation from busy streets, and enhance the appearance of property by providing attractive landscape materials. The negative effects of fences can include the creation of street walls that inhibit police and community surveillance, decrease the sense of community, hinder emergency access and the safe movement of pedestrians and vehicles, and create an unattractive appearance. (Ord. 2018-53 § 16(part), 2018: Ord. 2000-6 § 2(part), 2000: Ord. 96-36 § 1(part), 1996).

20.110.030 Permit, required when.

All fences anywhere on the lot are subject to provisions of this chapter and require a fence permit prior to construction. Fence permits are to be processed under Level I procedures. (Ord. 2018-53 § 16(part), 2018: Ord. 2000-6 § 2(part), 2000: Ord. 96-37 § 1(part), 1996).

20.110.035 Application requirements.

A. A fence permit application shall include a general site plan showing:

1. A drawing of the property with actual dimensions of property lines, particularly those which are the public right-of-way lines.

2. Location of the proposed fence on the property, to include height and type of construction.

3. North arrow and scale of drawing.

B. A legal description of the property may be required for accurate property identification. (Ord. 2018-53 § 16(part), 2018: Ord. 2000-6 § 2(part), 2000: Ord. 96-37 § 1(part), 1996).

20.110.040 General standards.

A. Fences shall not conflict with requirements for clearview triangle in Chapter 20.114. For public safety reasons, no variances from these provisions shall be applied for or permitted.

B. Fences shall always be required to be built on private property and never on public right-of- way. Private property lines may be a considerable distance from street surfaces or curb lines.

C. It shall be the property owner’s responsibility and obligation to identify the property line when proposing to construct a fence on said property line. A property survey may be required.

D. All fences shall be constructed and maintained in a structurally sound manner. Fences which are structurally unsound and/or hazardous are subject to abatement.

E. Fences may be constructed of wood, masonry, wire or similar materials employed by standard building practice. Fences shall not be made of tires or similar salvage materials not originally designed as structural components of fences or buildings.

F. All fences seven feet and taller shall require a building permit, as well as a fence permit. (Ord. 2018-53 § 16(part), 2018: Ord. 2000-6 § 2(part), 2000: Ord. 96-37 § 1(part), 1996).

20.110.050 Retaining walls, fence height.

A. Any free-standing property perimeter wall which is not a retaining wall shall be considered a fence. Retaining walls may be constructed to the height necessary to protect a cut-fill grade, but shall be a maximum of nine inches above finished grade on the fill side of the wall.

B. Where a retaining wall is located on a line separating lots, the retaining wall may be topped by a fence of the height permitted in the yard in which the wall is located. The allowable height of the fence shall be determined by measuring from the finished grade of the wall. (Ord. 2018-53 § 16(part), 2018: Ord. 2000-6 § 2(part), 2000: Ord. 96-37 § 1(part), 1996).

20.110.060 Earthen berms, fence height.

Where an earthen berm is requested, the size shall be determined by the site plan review committee. The berm may be topped by a fence, wall or hedge of the height permitted in the yard in which the berm is located. The height shall be measured from the highest finished grade of the berm. (Ord. 2020-51 § 12, 2020; Ord. 2018-53 § 16(part), 2018: Ord. 2000-6 § 2(part), 2000: Ord. 96-37 § 1(part), 1996).

20.110.070 Dangerous fences.

A. Barbed Wire and Similar Material.

1. No fence containing barbed wire or similar material may be constructed or allowed to remain, if already constructed, upon property lines or property abutting streets, highways, alleyways, or any public right-of-way within residential zones.

2. Up to three strands of barbed wire may be used on top of a fence abutting the public right-of-way and along property lines in Highway Commercial, Light Industrial, Heavy Industrial, Public Reserve and Airport Development zones so long as the wire does not protrude beyond the property line.

3. Fences constructed with razor wire, ribbon wire and material(s) of similar design are prohibited.

B. Electric fences are not permitted in the city except when used to contain grazing animals in an area zoned to allow such a use. Electric fences must be set back at least five feet from the property line and/or must be enclosed by additional fencing or other barriers which prevent access to the electric fence by small children on the adjacent property.

C. All fences not in compliance with this section shall, within twenty days of notification from the city, be removed by the owner or, upon failure to remove the fence, the director is empowered to cause the removal of the fence, the cost of which shall be billed to the owner. (Ord. 2019-38 § 8, 2019: Ord. 2000-6 § 2(part), 2000: Ord. 96-37 § 1(part), 1996).

20.110.080 Residential zone fences.

A. Rear and Side Yards. Fences not to exceed six feet in height are permitted in side and rear yards, but shall not extend into the front yard setback.

B. Front Yard. From the front yard setback to the front property line, chain link, woven wire, and split rail fences not to exceed five feet in height are permitted. Sight-obscuring fences shall not exceed three and one-half feet. (Ord. 2018-53 § 16(part), 2018: Ord. 2000-6 § 2(part), 2000: Ord. 96-37 § 1(part), 1996).

20.110.090 Commercial zone fences.

A. Front, Rear and Side Yards. Eight feet shall be the maximum height. (Ord. 2018-53 § 16(part), 2018: Ord. 2000-6 § 2(part), 2000: Ord. 96-37 § 1(part), 1996).

20.110.100 Industrial zone fences.

A. Rear, Side, Front Yards. Eight feet shall be the maximum fence height in industrial zones except as may be provided under subsection B of this section for wrecking yards or junk yards. Fencing of other industrial areas shall comply with the outdoor storage standards specified in Section 20.134.060(B).

B. Fences for Wrecking or Junk Yards. Motor vehicle wrecking yards must be enclosed by a view obscuring fence or wall at least eight feet high. A higher fence or wall may be required by the director or site plan review committee. Such fence or wall shall not extend into the “clearview triangle” as specified in Chapter 20.114. Such wall or fence shall be painted or stained a neutral shade which shall blend with the surrounding premises, and such wall or fence must be kept in good repair. A living hedge of sufficient density to prevent a view of the confined area may be substituted or such wall or fence when used in combination with a security fence which is not sight obscuring. Any dead or dying portion of such hedge shall be replaced by the property owner or occupant. (Ord. 2018-53 § 16(part), 2018: Ord. 2000-6 § 2(part), 2000: Ord. 96-37 § 1(part), 1996).

20.110.110 Public reserve/airport development zone fences.

Due to the wide variety of permitted uses within these districts, the Director and/or Site Plan Review Committee shall determine appropriate fence height and setback requirements based upon the proposed use and adjacent properties. (Ord. 2000-6 § 2(part), 2000: Ord. 96-37 § 1(part), 1996).