City of Spokane

Spokane Municipal Code

Title 17C
Chapter 17C.110
Section 17C.110.230

Title 17C Land Use Standards

Chapter 17C.110 Residential Zones

Section 17C.110.230 Fences
  1. Purpose.

The fence standards promote the positive benefits of fences without negatively affecting the community or endangering public or vehicle safety. Fences can create a sense of privacy, protect children and pets, provide separation from busy streets, and enhance the appearance of property by providing attractive landscape materials. The negative effects of fences can include the creation of street walls that inhibit police and community surveillance, decrease the sense of community, hinder emergency access and the safe movement of pedestrians and vehicles, and create an unattractive appearance.

  1. Types of Fences.

The standards apply to walls, fences, trellises, arbors, and screens of all types whether open, solid, wood, metal, wire, masonry, or other material.

  1. Location.
    1. Front Lot Line.

Fences up to forty-two inches high are allowed in required front lot line setbacks.

    1. Sides and Rear Lot Line.

Fences up to six feet high are allowed in required sides or rear lot line setbacks. Except in an instance where a rear lot line joins the front lot line of another lot, the fence must be either:

      1. forty-two inches high or less, or
      1. right isosceles triangle having sides of seven feet measured along the right-of-way line of a side yard and the front property line.
    1. Other.

The height for fences that are not in required building setbacks is the same as the height limits of the zone for detached accessory structures in Table 17C.110-3.

    1. Alleys.

Fences shall not obstruct the clear width required in SMC 17H.010.130(G).

  1. Reference to Other Standards.

Building permits are required by the building services department for all fences including the replacement of existing fences. A permit is not required to repair an existing fence.

  1. Prohibited Fences.
  1. No person may erect or maintain a fence or barrier consisting of or containing barbed, concertina, or razor wire in the RSF, RTF, RMF, or RHD zones. In the RA zone, up to three strands of barbed wire are allowed for agricultural, farming or animal uses.
  1. No person may construct or maintain a fence or barrier charged with electricity in the RSF, RTF, RMF, or RHD zones. In the RA zone, the use is permitted for the containment of livestock only.
  1. A fence, wall, or other structure shall not be placed within the public right-of-way without an approved covenant as provided in SMC 17G.010.160 and any such structure is subject to the height requirement for the adjoining setback.
  1. Fence Setbacks.
      1. Arterial Street.

No fence may be closer than twelve feet to the curb of an arterial street.

      1. Local Access Street.

No fence may be closer than the back of the sidewalk on a local access street. If there is no sidewalk, the fence shall be setback seven feet behind the face of the curb of a local access street.

  1. Enclosures for Pools, Hot Tubs, and Impoundments of Water.
    1. To protect against potential drowning and near drowning by restricting access to pools, spas, and other impoundments of water, a person maintaining a swimming pool, hot tub, or other impoundment of water exceeding eighteen inches or more in depth and located on private property is required to construct and maintain an approved fence or other barrier as described in the currently adopted edition of the International Swimming Pool and Spa Code.
    1. When a fence is elected as the preferred barrier, the following applies:
      1. The required pool enclosure must be at least fifty-four inches high and may be a fence, wall, building or other structure approved by the building services department.
      1. If the enclosure is a woven wire fence, it is required to be built to discourage climbing.
      1. No opening, except a door or gate, may exceed four inches in any dimension.
      1. Any door or gate in the pool enclosure, except when part of the occupied dwelling unit, must have self-closing and self-locking equipment by which the door or gate is kept secure when not in use. A latch or lock release on the outside of the door or gate must be at least fifty-four inches above the ground.
  1. Visibility at Intersections.

A fence, wall, hedge, or other improvement may not be erected or maintained at the corner of a lot so as to obstruct the view of travelers upon the streets.

    1. Subject to the authority of the traffic engineer to make adjustments and special requirements in particular cases, all fences, vegetation, and other features within the Clear View Triangle defined in SMC 17A.020.030 shall be maintained to keep a vertical clear view zone between three and eight feet from ground level

Date Passed: Monday, May 11, 2020

Effective Date: Sunday, June 14, 2020

ORD C35899 Section 4