What’s the fence height and screening standards for the City of Ripon?
That answer could be settled at Tuesday’s 6 p.m. Ripon City Council meeting.
“Over the last several meetings, Council has been contemplating amendments to the City’s Fencing and Screening ordinance in an effort to provide clarity and standardize the regulations regarding fencing and screening,” said Planning Director Ken Zuidervaart in his report.
Several ideas have already been discussed regarding fence height and screening standards for residential zones at previous sessions.
Elected leaders apparently agree on changing the maximum fence height from six to seven feet.
“Therefore, the recommended changes have been added to the ordinance amendment,” Zuidervaart said.
As for screening standards for residential?
“After some discussion, an idea was presented to allow lattices to be attached to the rear fences only — up to eight feet in height — where rear yards abutted another rear yard, so long as both neighbors agreed,” he said, adding that the rear fence-only idea is OK since it would not be visible from the public right-of-way.
Among the concerns, Zuidervaart reported, after further investigation from staff, that some rear yard (mostly corner lots) do not abut their neighbor’s rear yard.
“Applying our standards using this approach does not necessarily provide a standardized method of applying the regulation throughout our community, something staff believes that we are trying to get away from,” he said.
Another is the placement of a two-foot lattice on top of a six-foot fence requiring a building permit, according to the California Building Code (any fencing over seven feet).
The reason for that is the engineered plans must show the appropriate footing details to withstand wind loads.
“Most homeowners will not go through the 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 a code enforcement issue,” said Zuidervaart.
Staff is making several recommendations, including the lattice.
“If someone wants a two-foot lattice, they would have to build a five-foot solid fence with the lattice on top – staff agreed that extending the fence height to seven feet is sufficient for privacy and screening purposes.
As for addition to arbor-type structures over gates and fences, staff said that the overall height to such structures not exceed nine feet in height and limited only to such fencing where the arbor structure does not overhang any property lines.
Due to the discussion and numerous, Zuidervaart noted that this will be a first reading and introduction to the proposed ordinance.
For more information, log on to www.cityofripon.org.