City of Spokane

Spokane Municipal Code

***Note: Many local criminal codes can now be located under Chapter 10.60 SMC while others are now cited under the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), which was incorporated into the municipal code in 2022. (See SMC 10.58.010). Code Enforcement, including Noise Control and Animal Regulations are located in Chapters 10.62 through 10.74.

Title 17C
Chapter 17C.122
Section 17C.122.135

Title 17C Land Use Standards

Chapter 17C.122 Center and Corridor Zones

Section 17C.122.135 Fences
  1. Purpose.

The fence standards promote the positive benefits of fences without adversely impacting the community or endangering public or vehicle safety. Fences near streets are kept low in order to allow visibility into and out of the site and to ensure visibility for motorists. Fences in any required side or rear setback are limited in height so as to not conflict with the purpose for the setback.

  1. Type of Fences.

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

  1. Location, Height, and Design.
    1. Street Setbacks.

No fence or other structure is allowed within twelve feet from the back of the curb, consistent with the required sidewalk width of SMC 17C.130.230.

      1. Measured From Front Lot Line.

Fences up to three and one-half feet high are allowed in a required street setback that is measured from a front lot line.

      1. Measured From a Side Lot Line.

Fences up to six feet high are allowed in required setback that is measured from a side lot line.

      1. Fences shall not reduce the required setback width of SMC 17C.130.210.
    1. Side or Rear Structure Setbacks.

Fences up to six feet high are allowed in required side or rear setbacks except when the side or rear setback abuts a pedestrian connection. When the side or rear setback abuts a pedestrian connection, fences are limited to three and one-half feet in height.

    1. Not In Setbacks.

The height for fences that are not in required setbacks is the same as the regular height limits of the zone.

    1. Sight-obscuring Fences and Walls.

Any required or nonrequired sight-obscuring fences, walls, and other structures over three and one-half feet high, and within fifteen feet of a street lot line shall either be placed on the interior side of a L2 see-through buffer landscaping area at least five feet in depth (See chapter 17C.200 SMC, Landscaping and Screening), or meet the treatment of blank walls intent outlined in SMC 17C.122.060 – Initial Design Standards and Guidelines for Center and Corridors.

  1. Prohibited Fences.
    1. No person may erect or maintain a fence or barrier consisting of or containing barbed, razor, concertina, or similar wire except that up to three strands of barbed wire may be placed atop a lawful fence exceeding six feet in height above grade.
    1. No person may maintain a fence or barrier charged with electricity.
    1. A fence, wall, or other structure shall not be placed within a 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. No fence may be closer than twelve feet to the curb.
  1. Visibility at Intersections.
  1. 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 SMC17A.020.030 shall be maintained to keep a vertical clear view zone between three and eight feet from ground level
    1. Enclosures for Pools, Hot Tubs, or Ponds.
    1. A person maintaining a swimming pool, hot tub, pond or other impoundment of water exceeding five thousand gallons and eighteen inches or more in a depth and located on private property is required to construct and maintain and approved fence by which the pool or water feature is enclosed and inaccessible by small children.
    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 fifty-four inches above the ground.
    1. Outside of the door or gate must be at least fifty-four inches above the ground.
  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 and existing fence.

Date Passed: Monday, January 11, 2016

Effective Date: Wednesday, February 24, 2016

ORD C35346 Section 6