City considering new fencing regulations

Published 11:05 pm Monday, June 11, 2012

Do-it-yourselfers, put the nails and hammers down if you are building a fence in Troy. There are newly proposed rules to consider.

“These regulations establish guidelines and help define gray areas,” said Melissa Sanders, the city’s planning and zoning administrator, adding that the guidelines were project designated by the planning commission.

The Troy City Council will have the first reading of the changes at a scheduled meeting tonight and the updates come recommended by the planning commission.

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Some of the changes, Sanders said, include clarifying what materials can be used to make fences, fence height and fence placement.

Any front yard fence, Sanders said, must be “50 percent open,” such as a picket fence, and not more than three feet high. Along the street, that fence can be no higher than two and a half feet tall.

That’s for the safety of drivers, neighbors and people whose home is inside the fence.

“If there isn’t a clear view of your home from the street, it is a safety concern,” Sanders said.

Backyard fences should not exceed six feet high, commercial fences can be up to eight feet and industrial zoned fences shouldn’t be more than 10 feet high.

“Many other cities in Alabama have regulations similar to these,” Sanders said. “These changes will assist the building official and zoning department in enforcing regulations fairly.”

Height restrictions and clearer definitions of walls and hedges are also included in the proposed changes.

Sanders said something that people may not be aware of is the need to obtain a permit before building a fence. Fences must be inspected after they go up, as well. Those requirements will not change.

And if home or business owners already have a fence, hedge or wall that doesn’t meet the proposed changes they’ll be grandfathered in and not have to tear down any existing structure should the alterations and clarifications pass. However, Sanders said, that’s only true if the structure isn’t expanded or completely replaced in any way.

“These rules are to preserve the appearance of Troy and to avoid traffic and safety hazards,” Sanders said.