Determining if you need a Permit for your Fence Installation

When starting a fence installation, it’s important to find out if you will need a permit. A permit is required to ensure that your fence is done under the correct guidelines and follows the zoning regulations. City and township ordinances vary from place to place, so it is advised to contact your local building department to be certain your fence is following the proper procedures.

Looking at the Details

Before contacting your local building department, there are a few things you will want to know about your fencing project.  Whether your fence is in a commercial or residential zone, its height, and the material you will be using are all taken into consideration when determining how necessary it is to obtain a fence permit.  Depending on if your fence is in a residential or commercial zone will tell you a few things right away.   Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind when building either a commercial or residential fence:

  • Commercial Fence: Normally commercial fence permits require a fence to be less than about 6 or 7 feet in height.  If you’re looking to build a taller fence for security or other reasons, you can apply and see if it is approved, or apply for a variance which is a request to deviate from the regular rules.  A fence that is less noticeable and blends into an area is typically easier to get passed.   Check your city’s website for a permit application to get started.
  • Residential Fence: When installing a fence in a residential area, there are a few hurdles to get over in order to obtain a fence permit.  Getting approval from your city is one part, and additionally you might need to have approval from your Homeowners Association depending on your living situation and location.  Normally a residential fence is supposed to be 6’ tall or less.  Additionally, depending on the codes and requirements in your area the fence may need to be made using “natural looking materials” such as a wood fence.  Checking with your local guidelines will determine the various specifications for your fence approval.

Although it may seem like a burden to go through the process of obtaining a fence permit, the guidelines are in place to protect the property value of the house and prevent any negative effects on the community.  Overall, following the proper procedure will be worth it in the long term.

If you have questions about fence permits or would like to find out information for having a fence installed, feel free to call us at Riverside Fence.  We will be happy to assist you in the process of having your ideal fence installed while adhering to the necessary codes.


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