The Ripon City Council finally signed off on the amendments to the Fencing and Screening ordinance.
"Over the last several meetings, Council has been contemplating amendments to the City of Ripon's ordinance in an effort to provide clarity and standardizing the City's regulations regarding fencing and screening," said Planning Director Ken Zuidervaart at the Aug. 11 session.
With that, the maximum fence height is now seven feet. The previous maximum height was six feet.
Zuidervaart, in his report to the Council, indicated that the recommended changes to the height of fences was added to the ordinance amendment.
In the "Screening Standards for Residential," he pointed out that some of the discussions included the idea of allowing lattices to be attached to the rear fence — up to eight feet in height, where rear yards abut to another rear yard, so long as both neighbors agree —while not being visible from the public right-of-way.
Not all yards in town are equal.
Some backyards — mostly corner lots — may not abut to the rear of a neighboring rear yard.
"Applying our standards using this approach does not necessarily provide a standardized method of applying the regulations throughout our community, something staff believes that we are trying to get away from. Additionally, staff feels that the aesthetics with this approach will provide a look in our community that is inconsistent," said Zuidervaart in the staff report.
He added that by allowing a two-foot lattice on top of a six foot fence, under the California Building Code (any fencing over seven feet), would require a building permit.
"Most home owners will not go through this extensive and expensive process just to put (a two foot) lattice on top of their fence, which will most likely be done illegally and become code enforcement issues," Zuidervaart said.
Council, in turn, agreed that seven feet fencing was sufficient for privacy and screening purposes. That includes lattice add-ons.
For example, a homeowner may choose to install a two-foot lattice but would have to do so atop a solid five-foot fencing under the new maximum height.