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Manteca fence wars
Should council enforce or change rules?
Manteca municipal staff is using a photo of this home to show violations of the rules for both front and side fences. - photo by Photo Contributed

Fences, contrary to the old saying, apparently do not make good neighbors in some sections of Manteca.

More and more Manteca residents are complaining about the fences their neighbors are putting up specifically in their front and side yards. The top complaint is that the illegal fences under city code are trashing neighborhood aesthetics followed by creating safety issues.

The previous City Council nearly three years ago after being besieged by complaining fence owners who had been cited by code enforcement officers after the city received complaints from neighbors about fence rule violations, instructed staff not to purse code enforcement for fence unless it involved safety issues.

The angst over fences and not following city rules is once again prompting staff to present the fence issue to the City Council.

On Tuesday, the staff will seek direction from the council when they meet at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St. Staff has proposed two possible courses of action. One is whether staff and public resources should be dedicated to reevaluating the city’s fence standards. The other is to reinstate full code enforcement of non-complaint fences. Part of that code enforcement process would include staff working with property owner to gin compliance within a reasonable timeframe.

Community Development Director Frederic Clark in a staff report to the council noted the height and location of fences are regulated to provide light, air and privacy without obstructing views as well as to establish buffers between different land uses. The rules also safeguard against visual obstructions at intersections of streets as well as along driveways

In examples Clark will provide to the council on Tuesday, one photo shows a homeowner who installed a 72-inch fence in their front yard compared to the code maximum of 36 inches. In a second example a homeowner installed an 84-inch high fence in a side yard when existing code limits it to 42 inches.