I'm in the process of trying to buy a house that is located on a major boulevard here and envision/want to replace an old chain link fence that encircles the property. I'd like some privacy from some of the business parking lots in the area and quite frankly I'd also like not to hear social noises from passing motorists when I'm out landscaping!   My neighbors have a tall wooden fence which looks forboding and fortress-like. Now I read on the city's website that 1) I need a permit, and 2) I'm not supposed to have a fence over a ridiculously low 3 ft tall in the front???  I'm wondering how others get past this, and, short of planting large water-hogging shrubbery, what my options are. 

Ideally, I want a tasteful  solid wall with a cedar-branch fence topper or something else attractive and not fort-like. Most of my yard is to the side and I"m on a corner so I feel like I may have to do quite a bit of dancing with the city.  Has anyone else had this experience?  Do you or perhaps your neighbors have such a fence/wall I can drive past and photograph for my ideas? 




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I'd check to see if your neighborhood association has any info. If you don't know which association governs your area you can probably figure it out here:


The height is an issue if it's blocking a view of the road when you enter or exit. Since you're on a corner, you can't build a wall that interferes with the drivers' view of on-coming traffic.

I think that if you leave a certain amount of space (4 feet?) between the sidewalk and the road, you can build higher. As for the permit, I'd bet that almost any traditional fence company would pull the permit for you as part of the job, but I'm not sure.

There is the 3 foot rule within the "setback" on all properties ( too complicated to explain here), but the city makes exceptions for areas of major traffic. You will need to apply for a conditional use permit, which you do at the mesa del sol building on 2nd, a little south of Lomas. You will need to provide detailed plans and elevations sketches of your wall. The city conducts a traffic review of your corner, to make sure your wall won't impede traffic safety. You appear before a hearings examiner, who gives final approval, or doesn't. It helps if you get a neighbor or two to support you in writing, which you can submit with your packet. Basically you are making a case that your wall needs to be higher than the 3 foot rule, so the more persuasive you are, the better. Good luck!

Plaza del sol Building- the Zoning hearing examiner schedule and information

Our last house was on a corner and we put up a fence on both the "side" and front.  Note that the address of the house corresponds to the "front" so if your house faces the side yard, it's still the side yard and the side-yard setbacks are in effect.  We're no longer there, but I bet the fences still are: Drive by 500 Montclaire SE to see what we did.


This is as close to the street as we could go with a standard permit.  The block wall on the Zuni side is 10' from the curb.  The front yard fence is on a 20' setback.  Both are about 6' high.  The city also requires that a "clear sight triangle" be observed, that's essentially a measurement from the corner going 35' down each street to make a triangle- anything inside the hypotenuse of that triangle must be shorter than 3' for visibility purposes.  The city can provide you a small printout with all the required details.


To get the permit we took a couple photographs of the house which showed the neighbor's driveways and printed them out.  We also used the overhead survey of the property from the time of purchase as the basis for plans to demonstrate where the fence would be located.  I'll attach a copy.  An orange highlighter was used to mark the what sections of wall would be new.


The people who authorize these permits really want to help you out, they just need to make sure whatever your planning will not create a safety hazard.  They have a limited amount of leeway on what they can approve so read up on the rules in advance of going down there.  You can even call them on the phone and discuss the project with them- they'll pull up the address on their computer and tell you what particular details need to be seen to for that location.


Be sure you have a permit before you start.  If anybody complains the city will cite you without one.



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