A Fence Permit is required to erect a new fence on a property located within our City limits, with the exception of agricultural uses, as well as pet or livestock, garden, or similar fencing provided the fence is in a property that has a perimeter fence. Required permits must be obtained prior to initiating any work.
For minor alterations to an existing fence, such as replacements of pickets, panels, posts or other materials, a permit is only required if the changes exceed one third (1/3) of the facing of the existing fence. Any vertical or linear addition or the relocation of an existing fence requires a new permit. Please note that all fences must be kept in good repair and in a safe and attractive condition, consistent with the design established with the Fence Permit.
Below is a list of questions to assist you in obtaining a Fence Permit:
Q: Where do I apply for a fence permit?
A: Apply online with all required supporting documents at www.mygovernmentonline.org
Supporting documents include:
- A copy of the survey of the property identifying the location, height and material of the proposed fence.
- Pay Application fee. (We will send a notification to pay once accepted for review) . Click here for current fee schedule
For a quick walk through of how to use MyGovernmentOnline, click here.
Q: How much does a fence permit cost?
A: The current fee to apply for a fence permit is listed on fee schedule. Please note that this fee may be subject to change.
Q: Must a fence be designed by an engineer?
A: Masonry, stone, rock and brick walls that are eight (8) feet or taller and pre-engineered walls/products require fence details signed and sealed by an engineer. Please note that retaining walls that are over three (3) feet in height must be designed by an Engineer.
For all fences, plans and details must be legible, include all pertinent information (i.e. height, length, material, etc.), and preferably drawn to a 1/4-inch or 1/8-inch scale.
Q: How much time does it take to process a fence permit?
A: Currently, the City strives to process all fence permits within 10 business days from receipt of a complete application. This time may be extended if a License to Encroach is required for the proposed fence. To help expedite your review, please ensure that all required documents and plans are submitted with the permit application in compliance with local codes and this Customer Bulletin.
Q: Will the fence be inspected once complete?
A: Yes. All new fences, to include replacement of existing fences, will be inspected after permit is issued. Inspections may be scheduled online at www.mygovernmentonline.org.
For a quick walk through of how to use MyGovernmentOnline, click here.
Q: Are there limitations to the type of materials that may be used to construct a fence?
A: Fences may be made of wood, stone, rock, concrete block, masonry brick, brick, decorative wrought iron, chain link, welded wire, or other similar material. Prohibited materials include plywood, paper, plastic, fiberglass panels, chicken wire, fabric, or sheet, roll or corrugated metals. The finished “face” side of the fence (opposite the structural supports) must face all public streets and public parkland.
However, please note there are additional fence requirements for certain types of uses. These standards are detailed in Section 8.07 of the UDC. In addition:
- Fences within the front yard must be 50% opened (i.e. wrought iron or picket fence).
- For -residential uses, barbed wire fences are not allowed on lots of less than 2 acres.
- For apartment complexes, only wrought iron or similar material is allowed in the front and side setbacks when abutting a local or collector street; wood fences may be allowed within the setbacks that abut another property.
- Swimming pools require a fence/barrier surrounding the pool with a self-latching gate in accordance with the 2000 International Residential Code (“IRC”). Please refer to Appendix G of the IRC for swimming pool standards.
All fences must be constructed to perpetually maintain structural integrity against natural forces such as wind, rain and temperature variations. Fences constructed of chain link, welded wire, picket or similar materials shall require a minimum of two (2) support rails spaced at least one half (½) of the total height of the fence apart.
In addition, we highly encourage you to check with your Home Owner’s Association for additional restrictions or requirements that may be applicable to you.
Q: Are there height limitations for building a fence?
A: In accordance with Section 8.07 of the UDC, fences may be built to the heights shown in the table below. Fence height is to be measured from the ground level on the higher side of the fence or wall.
|Single-family, two-family and townhome||Apartment Complex||Non-residential|
|Front Yard||4 ft max; 50% opened||6 ft max||4 ft max; 50% opened|
|Side Setback||6 ft max; however,4 ft max if abutting a local or collector street;5 ft max if abutting an alley||8 ft max; however,6 ft max if abutting a local or collector street||8 ft max; however,4 ft max if abutting a local or collector street|
|Rear Setback||6 ft max; however,5 ft max if abutting an alley10-ft setback required if abutting a local or collector street||8 ft max||8 ft max|
Please note that certain uses have specific or additional standards. These standards are detailed in Section 8.07 of the UDC. In addition, fences in the side and rear setbacks of single-family, two-family and townhome residential uses may be increased to 8 feet in height under certain circumstances as specified in Section 8.07.040(B)(4) of the UDC and the Residential Fence UDC Interpretation dated June 21, 2013 (https://udc.georgetown.org, Chapter 8). For industrial and utility uses, barbed wire may be used above any conventional 6-foot fence provided the total height does not exceed 8 feet.
Q: Are there exceptions to the materials or height limitations?
A: Alternative fence materials, location and height may be considered by the Planning Director through the City’s Administrative Exception process. Section 8.07.080 of the UDC details the justifiable reasons for requesting an exception. Click here for Administrative Exception information
Please note that Administrative Exceptions must be approved prior to applying for a fence permit. In this event, a copy of the approved Administrative Exception must be included with the fence permit application.
Q: How do I know which side is the front of my property?
A: For corner or multi-frontage lot, the front is determined by the shortest street frontage of the lot. Where the lot is relatively square or unusually shaped, a request may be made to the Planning Director for a determination.
Q: My fence will be built on a corner lot. Does this make a difference?
A: In accordance with the “Sight Triangle” requirements in Section 12.03.050 of the UDC, no fence or wall more than 25% solid or more than 3 feet tall shall be located within 25 feet of the right-of-way at the intersection of two streets or within 8 feet of the intersection of a street and an alley.
Q: There is an easement on my property. Can I build my fence over or across the easement?
A: Walls or other fencing proposed to be located near a public utility easement, or buried or above-ground utility equipment that are made up of masonry or a similar product and containing a poured foundation shall require review by the Development Engineer prior to approval. A License to Encroach pursuant to Section 3.21 may also be required.
For non-residential uses, fences within a required setback adjacent to a public right-of-way may not be located in a public or landscape easement.
Fences may not be located within a drainage easement or floodway area. Fences proposed within the 100 year Flood Plain will require approval of a Flood Plain Development Permit.
For additional information, please email the Inspections Department at email@example.com.
Q: May I remove a tree that will interfere with the construction of the fence?
A: Residential subdivisions that were platted prior to February 13, 2007, may remove trees without obtaining further approval from the City.
Residential subdivisions platted after February 13, 2007, and all other properties may not be clear-cut or selectively cleared, or have a Protected or Heritage Tree removed, without first obtaining the necessary approvals from the City. To read more about heritage trees, please visit Chapter 8 of the UDC
Q: May I place a sign on the fence?
A: All messages or advertising on fences or walls are considered signage and thus are not allowed on fences unless permitted in accordance with Chapter 10, Sign Standards, of the UDC.
Q: Are there any other permits required for a fence?
A: Fences on properties located in the Downtown Overlay District, or on two-family, multi-family and commercial properties in the Old Town Overlay District, approval of a Certificate of Design Compliance (“CDC”) by the Historical Architectural Review Committee (“HARC”) is required. When applicable, a copy of the approved CDC must be included with the fence permit application packet.
Walls or other fencing proposed to be located near a public utility easement or buried or above-ground utility equipment that are made up of masonry or a similar product and containing a poured foundation may require a License to Encroach pursuant to Section 3.21. Click here for License to Encroach information
Q: May I build a temporary fence?
A: Temporary fences are permitted subject to the issuance of a Fence Permit. However, temporary fences for a site with an active Building Permit, Storm water Permit, or part of a roadway construction project are allowed without a Fence Permit. This type of temporary fence must be removed at the expiration of such Permit or the conclusion of construction, whichever occurs first.
Q: May I build an electric fence?
A: Electric fences are allowed subject to the following:
1. Electric fences must be placed within a minimum of 10 feet from any public rights-of-way or sidewalk;
2. Electric fences must be placed a minimum of two (2) feet from all private property lines.
3. A “Warning: Electric Fence in Operation” sign at least 12 inches x 12 inches in size must be posted at intervals of not more than 50 feet apart and located not more than 1 foot away from the fence.
Q: Are there additional reviews required for a fence?
A: All fencing that will cause a diversion of water runoff or otherwise prevent the natural flow of storm water shall require review by the Development Engineer prior to approval.
Walls or other fencing proposed to be located near a public utility easement, or buried or above-ground utility equipment that are made up of masonry or a similar product and containing a poured foundation shall require review by the Development Engineer prior to approval. Additionally, a License to Encroach pursuant to Section 3.21 of the UDC may be required.
Fences proposed within the 100 year Flood Plain require the review and approval of a Flood Plain Development Permit.
Q: Are there any other requirements for a fence?
A: All fences and fencing locations shall be in compliance with the requirements of the adopted Building Code, Fire Code, or any other health and safety provision adopted by the City of Georgetown. In the event that a Building Code or Fire Code requirement supersedes any provision of the UDC or would make such provision unworkable, those codes shall govern.
Additionally, Chapter 5 of the UDC contains provisions for fencing materials, heights, and locations associated with particular uses that are allowed with additional requirements in certain zoning districts. Below are references to each such provision with the corresponding section number:
A. Day Care – UDC Section 5.030.020.B
B. Bed and Breakfast – UDC Section 5.04.020.A and B
C. Offices in the RS District – UDC Section 5.04.020.J
D. Self-storage – UDC Section 5.04.020.P
E. Fuel sales – UDC Section 5.04.020.S
F. Intermediate Utility Services – UDC Section 5.05.020.B
G. Outdoor Storage, Limited – UDC Section 5.09.030.B
H. Outdoor Storage, General – UDC Section 5.09.030.C
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