Can I Put Up a Barbed Wire Fence in Sacramento?

Full Question:

may i add a barbed wire on top of back fence in my backyard for protection
04/05/2014   |   Category: Zoning   |   State: California   |   #25740

Answer:

The answer will be governed by local zoning and building codes. This service provides legal information, as as we are prohibited from giving legal advice. Generally, barbed wire is permitted for non-residential property, subject to the restrictions in the City of Sacramento Code section 17.620.120 below. For residential property, a court order or zoning variance is must be requested, and it must be proven that the barbed wire is reasonably necessary to protect persons or property and will not constitute a safety hazard to members of the public conducting themselves in a lawful manner. Please see the City of Sacramento Code sections below to determine applicability:

17.620.120 Regulations for nonresidential development.

The following regulations apply to walls and fences for nonresidential development:

A. Parcel abutting residential zone or use.

1. A development, improvement, or use of a site for other than residential purposes shall provide a minimum 6-foot high solid wall of masonry, brick, or similar material along all property lines which abut a residential zone or use.

2. The wall shall not extend into any front yard or street side yard setback area, or beyond the required setbacks of the abutting residential zone or use.

3. If the development is separated from a residential zone or residence by an alley, no wall or fence is required.

4. Front and street side yard. A wall or fence in the front-yard or street side-yard setback area shall comply with the residential requirements for a wall or fence in section 17.620.110.A.

B. Wall or fence adjacent to public street or public right-of-way.

1. If a wall or fence is placed adjacent to a paved area or parking lot adjoining a public street or public right-of-way, a minimum 4-foot wide (excluding concrete curbs) landscaped and irrigated planting strip composed of climbing vines, shrubs, or trees is required along the base of that portion of the wall or fence that fronts the public street or public right-of-way.

2. If at least 75% of the wall or fence is transparent, the planting strip may be located inside the wall or fence. Otherwise, the planting strip shall be located between the public street or right-of-way and the wall or fence. Such landscaping shall be properly irrigated and maintained.

C. Concertina wire, barbed wire. Unless in conflict with a court order, concertina wire, serpentine wire, barbed wire, razor wire, and other similar fencing materials capable of inflicting significant physical injury are permitted on nonresidential uses subject to all of the following requirements:

1. These materials may be used only at heights of 6 feet or more, except that one strand may be installed inside a fence near its base;

2. In the C-1 and C-2 zones, these materials are prohibited along the front and street side property lines and within the front-yard and street side-yard setback areas;

3. A site plan and design review deviation under article I of chapter 17.808 to allow use of these fencing materials at lower heights or along the front and street side property lines and within the front-yard and street side-yard setback areas in the C-1 and C-2 zones may be approved if the decision maker finds that the proposed fencing is reasonably necessary to protect persons or property and will not constitute a safety hazard to members of the public conducting themselves in a lawful manner; and

4. These fencing materials shall not protrude into or over the public right-of-way.

D. Woven wire fencing in the C-1 and C-2 zones. In the C-1 and C-2 zones, woven wire fencing are prohibited along the front and street side property lines and within the front-yard and street side-yard setback areas. (Ord. 2013-0020 § 1; Ord. 2013-0007 § 1)

17.620.110 Regulations for residential development.

The regulations in this section apply to walls and fences for single-unit, duplex, and multi-unit dwelling developments.

A. Front yards and street side yards. Walls or fences not exceeding 4 feet in height may be placed along the front and street side property lines or within the front-yard and street side-yard setback areas, subject to the following exceptions.

1. Exception—Wrought-iron fences. A decorative, open wrought-iron or tubular-steel fence not exceeding 6 feet in height may be placed along the front and street side property lines or within the front-yard and street side-yard setback areas.

a. This exception does not authorize solid walls or fences composed of woven wire, wood, or materials other than open wrought iron or tubular steel.

b. A post or pilaster, consisting of masonry, brick, or other solid material, not exceeding 18 inches square and 6 feet tall, may be used to support a wrought iron or tubular steel fence at a minimum distance between posts of 6 feet.

2. Exception—Street side-yard setback area.

a. Fence location. A fence or wall not exceeding 6 feet in height may be placed within the street side-yard setback area if it is either located at least 5 feet from the street side property line, or is placed on a line parallel to the street and that represents the extension of the wall of the main building that is nearest to the street.

b. Landscaping requirement. Climbing vines, shrubs, or trees shall be planted along the base of that portion of the wall or fence that fronts a public street. The remaining setback area between the wall or fence and property line shall be landscaped with grass or other low groundcover. All plants shall be properly irrigated and maintained. Only living vegetation may be used to meet the landscaping requirements.

3. Exception—Gate feature. A decorative gateway feature is permitted as long as the feature has a maximum height of 10 feet, a maximum length of 8 feet and a maximum width of 24 inches.

B. Rear yard and interior side yard.

1. Except as provided in subparagraphs a and b below, a wall or fence not exceeding 6 feet in height may be placed along the rear or interior side property lines or within the rear or interior side yard setback area.

a. A wall or fence not exceeding 8 feet in height may be placed along a rear or interior side property line that abuts a school, park, alley, or other nonresidential use.

b. A development abutting a freeway or railroad may construct a solid wall up to 12 feet in height for purposes of sound attenuation. The wall shall comply with the development standards for sound walls in article III.

2. A decorative gateway feature is permitted as long as the feature has a maximum height of 10 feet, a maximum length of 8 feet, and a maximum width of 24 inches.

3. Fences exceeding 6 feet in height are allowed outside the required rear-yard and interior side-yard setback areas.

C. Multi-unit dwelling—Wall requirement.

1. A multi-unit dwelling located on a single parcel shall provide a minimum of 6-foot high solid wall of masonry, brick, or similar material along all property lines that border the on-site parking lot and which abut a single-unit dwelling, duplex dwelling, or a lot within any of the zoning districts in chapter 17.204.

2. The 6-foot wall shall not extend into any required front-yard or street side-yard setback of the multi-unit dwelling development or adjacent residential development.

3. The height of the wall in the front-yard or street side-yard setback area shall comply with subsection A of this section.

D. Concertina wire; barbed wire.

1. Concertina wire, serpentine wire, barbed wire, razor wire, and other similar fencing materials capable of inflicting significant physical injury is prohibited, unless required by court order or allowed pursuant to subsection D.2.

2. A site plan and design review deviation under article I of chapter 17.808 to allow use of these fencing materials may be approved if the decision maker finds that use of these fencing materials is reasonably necessary to protect persons or property and will not constitute a safety hazard to members of the public conducting themselves in a lawful manner.

3. These fencing materials shall not protrude into or over the public right-of-way. (Ord. 2013-0020 § 1; Ord. 2013-0007 § 1)

15.156.020 Standards.

A. Permitted Materials. A fence may be constructed of permanent material, such as wood, chain link, stone, rock, concrete block, masonry brick, brick, decorative wrought iron or other material approved by the code enforcement manager.

B. Prohibited Materials. Fencing materials prohibited include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. Cast-off, secondhand, or other items not originally intended to be used for constructing or maintaining a fence.

2. Plywood less than five-eighths inches thick, plywood not of a grade approved by the code enforcement manager, particle board, paper, and visqueen plastic, plastic tarp, or similar material.

3. Concertina wire, serpentine wire, barbed wire, razor wire, and other similar fencing materials capable of inflicting significant physical injury, except as permitted in the Planning and Development Code.

C. Maintenance. All fences shall be properly maintained so as not to create a hazard, public nuisance or blight in the surrounding neighborhood.

D. Applicability. The requirements of this chapter apply only to fences located in the front yard, street side yard, and fences abutting any alley or other public right-of-way. (Ord. 2013-0021 § 84; Prior code § 61.18.1802)

9.16.070 Fences.

No person shall maliciously erect or maintain in the city, for the purpose of annoying the owners or occupants of adjoining property, any fence or other structure in the nature of a fence unnecessarily, exceeding six feet in height. (Prior code § 26.01.020)

17.620.100 General requirements.

A. Applicability. The regulations in this article apply to walls and fences on residential or nonresidential property. These regulations do not apply to sound walls along arterial streets.

B. Measurement of height of fences and walls. The height of a wall or fence is measured from the highest point of the fence or wall to the adjacent finish grade. Where the finish grades differ on each side of the wall or fence, such as when the wall or fence is also used as a soil retaining structure, the height is measured from the higher adjacent finish grade.

C. Clear zones; driveways within setbacks. Notwithstanding sections 17.620.110.A.1 and A.2, a wall or fence may not exceed 4 feet in height within the triangular areas next to the intersection of the driveway and the front-yard or the street side-yard curb line. A triangular area is defined by the following three lines: (1) the edge of the driveway; (2) either the front or street side curb line; and (3) a diagonal line connecting the following two points: (i) the point on the curb line 10 feet from the edge of the driveway, and (ii) the point along the edge of the driveway 10 feet from the curb line. If no standard curb exists, the property line is used instead of the curb line reference.

D. Maintenance. Maintenance of the wall or fence is the responsibility of the owner of the property on which the fence or wall is located.

E. Nonconforming wall or fence. A property owner may repair, maintain, or replace in the same location a wall or fence that does not conform to these regulations if the wall or fence was constructed prior to February 14, 1980. (Ord. 2013-0020 § 1; Ord. 2013-0007 § 1)


15.156.030 Nonconforming fence regulations.

A. “Nonconforming Fence” Defined. For purposes of this chapter, “nonconforming fence” means a fence that does not comply with provisions of this chapter as of its effective date.

B. Continuation and Maintenance. A nonconforming fence may be continued, and may be maintained, except as provided in this chapter or otherwise provided by law.

C. Maintenance or Repair of Existing Nonconforming Fence. Maintenance or repair, including structural repairs, may be made to any nonconforming fence or portions thereof if the repairs do not result in a different condition of nonconformity, or if the repairs bring the fence into compliance with this chapter.

D. Reconstruction of Damaged Nonconforming Fence. A property owner may reconstruct a nonconforming fence damaged by fire or other calamity if the reconstructed fence is in conformity with this chapter.

E. Removal of Worn Nonconforming Fence. If because of normal wear and tear a nonconforming fence is no longer fully upright or is no longer serviceable, the property owner either shall remove it or shall replace it with a new fence in conformity with this chapter. (Prior code § 61.18.1803)

Further inquiry may be made to the building department at the following:

Municipal Services Agency
Building Inspection
General
Information: (916) 875-5296