The municipal code defines a fence as "a barrier, not to exceed eight feet in height, which is constructed of one or more of the following materials, or combinations thereof: wood, metal, fiberglass or masonry materials." (AMC 21.35.020.B)  Fences are regulated by section 21.45.110.

Fences, by definition, may not exceed eight feet in height.  Any structure over eight feet in height is considered a wall and must meet the setback requirements.

Fences may be built "at the property line."  It is a very good idea to find your property's corner markers before you build the fence.  Relying on adjacent fences, utility poles, curbs or other unsurveyed markers is an invitation for trouble.

Within the front yard setback of residential districts the height is limited to four feet, except:

  • in the R-6, R-8 and R-9 districts, where the height may not exceed six feet, but non-sight obscuring fences may be increased to eight feet in height.             
  • on some through lots (see AMC 21.45.110.B.)

On corner lots, fences in the clear vision area may not exceed 2½ feet above the curb or street centerline elevation.

Illustration of the height limitations:

Click to enlarge

Fences in easements require letters of non-objection from the utilities, and in some cases an encroachment permit from the Municipality.

A fence built on the property line between two lots is a civil matter to be settled between the property owners.  The Municipality has no jurisdiction in these situations.

If you use the online version of the code, try searching on "21.45.110" for more information.  Please note that recent amendments may not have been published yet.  Land Use Enforcement will be happy to verify the current code language for you.