Community Government 

Walkersville to Update Fencing Regulations

The Walkersville Planning Commission hopes to send proposed amendments to the Walkersville Town Code that will address fences in the town.  The proposal will be discussed and may be approved at the Planning Commission’s Public Hearing on Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. in the Walkersville Town Hall.

Several months ago, a resident at the corner of Glade Road and Charles Street erected a tall wooden fence that became the subject of much debate in town.  The fence, which had been approved by the town, blocked the view of cars at the intersection and was too tall according to many complaints. After a Board of Appeals hearing, the fence was modified.

Following this event, the Board of Appeals asked the Burgess and Town Commissioners to clarify the rules for fences.  That request met with a resounding “yes” and the Planning Commission went to work on the issue.

The Planning Commission spent the past several months exploring the issues within the town, other municipalities’ rules for fencing, and local homeowners’ associations rules.  Through meetings and discussions, the following changes currently await the commission’s approval for proposition to the Burgess and Town Commissioners.

  • Amend Section 69-10 of the Town Code to read:
    • Such barriers to clear, unobstructed vision at corners of intersecting streets shall be limited to a height of not over three (3) feet above the established elevation of the nearest curb for a distance of twenty (20) feet along both the front and side lot curb lines measured from the point of intersection of the said intersecting lot CURB lines.  
  • Remove Section 88-57F from the Town Code.
  • Add New Section 88-14.2 – Fences to read as follows:

A. Location:

  1. Fences are permitted up to the property line.
  2. Fences are not permitted in the public right-of-way.

B. Intersections:  Must be in compliance with Section 69-10 Obstructions of View at Intersections.

C.  Zoning Certificate:  Not required.

B. Open Space District

A.  Location:

  1. Fences are permitted up to the property line.
  2. Fences are not permitted in the public right-of-way.

B.  Intersections:  Must be in compliance with Section 69-10 Obstructions of View at Intersections.

D.  Zoning Certificate:  Not required.

C. Institutional District

  1. Appearance:
  2. Fences on any street side of the property or adjoining a residential lot shall not exceed 30% opacity.
  3. Height:
  4. Fences on any street side of the property or adjoining a residential lot may be up to 6 feet tall.
  5. Fences located around a sports field, sports court or sport facility that necessitates such enclosure are permitted to exceed the maximum height listed above.
  6. Location:
  7.  Fences are permitted up to the property line.
  8. Fences are not permitted in the public right-of-way.
  9. Intersections:  Must be in compliance with Section 69-10 Obstructions of View at Intersections.
  10. Zoning Certificate:  Not required.

D.   R-1, R-2, R-3, and R-4 Residential and Old Town Mixed Use Districts

  1. Appearance:
  2. Fences shall be constructed of materials specifically designed and manufactured for fencing purposes.
  3. The finished side of the fence shall face outward toward surrounding properties and rights-of-way.
  4. Fences located in front of a dwelling cannot exceed 50% opacity.  Fences located in side and rear yards can be 100% opaque.
  5. Height:
  6.  Except as noted below for corner lots, fences shall not be greater than six (6) feet in height in the side yard and rear yard or greater than 4 feet in height in the front yard.
  7. Corner Lots:
  8. Mills Custom Wood Floors

  9. Corner lots shall be considered to have two front yards, a side yard and a rear yard, which shall be noted on the plot plan.   .
  10. No fence more than 4 feet tall shall be located closer to the front of the lot than the front of the dwelling in at least one front yard.  .
  11. Fences up to 6 feet tall shall be permitted along the  second front yard, provided they are set back a minimum of 20 feet from the curb or edge of pavement of the street.
  12. Location:
  13. Fences are permitted up to the property line.
  14. Fences are not permitted in the public right-of-way.
  15. Intersections:
  16.  Must be in compliance with Section 69-10 Obstructions of View at Intersections.
  17. Prohibitions:
  18. Above ground electrical fences, razor fences, and barbed wire fences are prohibited in or adjacent to residential and mixed use districts.
  19. Zoning Certificate:
  20. Fences in multi-family developments are subject to Site Plan approval by the Walkersville Planning Commission.
  21. A zoning certificate is required (includes pre-construction inspection by Town Code Enforcement Officer) to construct a fence in the residential and mixed use districts.

E.   B-1, B-2, and B-O Commercial Districts

  1. Appearance:
  2. Fences shall be constructed of materials specifically designed and manufactured for fencing purposes.
  3. The finished side of the fence shall face outward toward surrounding properties and rights-of-way.
  4. The fence details shall be shown on the site plan and approved by the Walkersville Planning Commission.
  5. Height:
  6. Fences up to 8 feet in height shall be permitted along the property lines.
  7. The height of fences located elsewhere on the property shall be subject to site plan approval by the Walkersville Planning Commission.
  8. Location:
  9. Fences are permitted up to the property line.
  10. Fences are not permitted in the public right-of-way.
  11. Intersections:  Must be in compliance with Section 69-10 Obstructions of View at Intersections.
  12. Prohibitions:
  13.  Above ground electrical fences, razor fences, and barbed wire fences are prohibited in or adjacent to residential and mixed use districts.
  14. Zoning Certificate:  Required.

F.  LI, LIP, and GI Industrial Districts

  1. Appearance:
  2.  Fences shall be constructed of materials specifically designed and manufactured for fencing purposes.
  3. The finished side of the fence shall face outward toward surrounding properties and rights-of-way.
  4. The fence details shall be shown on the site plan and approved by the Walkersville Planning Commission.
  5.  Height:
  6.  Fences up to 8 feet in height shall be permitted along the property lines.
  7. The height of fences located elsewhere on the property shall be subject to site plan approval by the Walkersville Planning Commission.
  8. Location:
  9. Fences are permitted up to the property line.
  10. Fences are not permitted in the public right-of-way.
  11. Intersections:  Must be in compliance with Section 69-10 Obstructions of View at Intersections.
  12. Prohibitions:
  13. Above ground electrical fences, razor fences, and barbed wire fences are prohibited in or adjacent to residential and mixed use districts.
  14. Site Plan Approval:
  15. The fence details and location shall be shown on the site plan to be approved by the Walkersville Planning Commission.
  16. The Planning Commission shall consider the following in their review:
    1. the proposed fence in relation to the scale and design of the surrounding neighborhood;
    2. The impact the proposed fence would have on the use and enjoyment of other properties in the immediate vicinity.
    3. The safety and security needs of the property occupant.

Zoning Certificate:  Required.

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