by Kristin Casale
Munroe Falls -- City Councilmember Dave Bertsch hopes creating a fence code for the community "nurtures conformity and uniformity" in the city.
During its May 15 meeting, Council gave a first reading to an ordinance establishing a fence code for residences and businesses. Legislation typically receives three readings before a vote is taken.
The code would establish regulations for installing fences, walls and trellises and planting hedges.
Bertsch said he believes creating a fence code is "a constructive, forward-thinking project."
"It will make sure our building and zoning people know when and where things are going up," he said.
The code states, "All fences or walls shall periodically be treated with paint or chemicals so as to retard deterioration," unless the structure is designed to remain untreated.
If fences are not maintained, the city would repair the structures and assess the cost of the work to the property owners, according to the code. Violations would result in a charge of $100 per day for each day the violations are not corrected. The number of days residents and business owners would have to repair a violation before the city performs the work has not been determined.
According to Building and Zoning Inspector Ken Freiman, the city currently does not have a method of requiring residents and businesses to maintain their fences.
If the code is passed, Freiman said he would enforce the regulations.
According to the proposed code, fences, walls, hedges and trellises would not be permitted to exceed 3 feet in height when located in front yards. Fences constructed outside of that portion of a property cannot be higher than 6 feet.
The code also states fences cannot "obstruct clear site distances at intersections."
Additional regulations would require fences built on commercial or industrial sites to total no more than 6 feet in height throughout the properties.
The city currently requires property owners to obtain a building permit from the city to install fences, walls or hedges. That regulation would remain in effect if the code passes.
According to Law Director Jack Morrison, property owners of existing fences, walls or hedges that do not conform to the proposed code's height regulations would not be required to change the structures if the ordinance is passed. But, he said, property owners of those structures would be required to abide by the code's maintenance policy.
Councilmember Bob Pitz said he believes a fence code is necessary to ensure the structures specified in the proposed ordinance are maintained.
"It'll be good for the city," he said.
The legislation will receive a second reading during Council's June 5 meeting at 7 p.m. in Munroe Falls City Hall.