Clarify Division Regulating Fences

Issue

Several sections of the division of the City Code regulating fencing should be amended to increase clarity and ensure consistency.  

Summary

The portion of the City Code that regulates fences has several problematic sections:

  1. It requires building permits for fences over 6.5 feet in height; however, the State Building Code only requires building permits for fences over 7 feet in height.
  2. It permits fences up to 3.5 feet in height to be constructed within the shoreland setback of riparian properties; however, the shoreland ordinance prohibits the placement of structures, except Water Oriented Accessory Structures (WOAS), within those setbacks.
  3. It requires a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for fences over 6.5 feet in height; however, the appropriate mechanism for granting a height deviation is a variance. This requirement also conflicts with another section allowing non-residential fences to be up to 8 feet tall without a CUP.
  4. Fences within the front yard of corner/double frontage lots are held to more restrictive standards than other front yard fences.
  5. The definition of sight distance triangle used in the fence ordinance does not include driveways.
  6. States the front yard on corner/double frontage lots is determined by the garage; however, garage orientation does not always align with street access.
  7. States barbed wire and electric fences are permitted in agricultural districts; however, it does not require that properties are actually being used for agriculture. 
  8. Prohibits placement of fences between landscape buffers and arterial/collector streets, but does not take into account the actual location of the vegetation within the buffer.

The following sections of the Chanhassen City Code are subject to changes:

  • Section 1-2. Rules of Construction and definitions – Defines term agriculture as commercial use of land for animal or food production.
  • Section 20-91. Zoning Permits. Lists activities that require a zoning permit.
  • Chapter 20, Article XXIII, Division 5 - Fences and Walls - Contains permitting, height, location, and design requirements for all permanent and temporary fences within the city.

Related Resources

Issue Paper

Schedule

Date Meeting Type Action
May 17, 2022 Planning Commission Approved
June 13, 2022 City Council TBD