[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Commission of the City of South Pasadena 12-18-1984 by Ord. No. 84-23 as Ch. 8 of the 1984 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
- FENCE and WALL
- A man-made barrier erected for the following purposes, including but not limited to enclosure, exclusion, protection, privacy, security, retainment and aesthetics, located at the perimeter of or within the required yards (side, front and rear) of private property.
- FENCE, VISUALLY OPEN
- Constructed of metal-galvanized wire, such as chain link, and securely attached to posts and railings of galvanized metal, which posts are encased below ground level in concrete or cement.
- A planting of shrubs, planted to form a continuous unbroken, solid visual screen within one (1) year after planting.
- TEMPORARY FENCE
- A fence having an anticipated use which will not exceed six (6) months.[Added 9-10-1991 by Ord. No. 91-05]
- VISUAL OBSTRUCTION
- A fence, hedge, wall or grouping of plants which in any way obstructs cross visibility at a level of three (3) feet above grade within the triangular areas described as follows and as illustrated below: 
- A. Private-to-private and private-to-public right-of-way intersections. The areas of property on both sides of an accessway formed by the intersection of each side of the accessway and the public or private right-of-way line with two (2) sides of each triangle being ten (10) feet in length from the point of intersection, and the third side being a line connecting the ends of the other two (2) sides.
- B. Public right-of-way intersections. The area of property located at the corner formed by the intersection of two (2) or more public rights-of-way with two (2) sides of a triangular area being forty (40) feet in length along the abutting public right-of-way lines, measured from their point of intersection, and the third side being a line connecting the ends of the other two (2) sides.
Every outdoor swimming pool or family pool shall be completely surrounded by a fence or wall not less than four (4) feet in height, which shall be so constructed as not to have openings, holes or gaps larger than four (4) inches in any dimension except for doors and gates. If a picket fence is erected or maintained, the horizontal dimensions shall not exceed four (4) inches. A dwelling house or accessory building may be used as part of such enclosure.
All gates or doors opening through such enclosure shall be equipped with a self-closing and self-latching device for keeping the gate or door securely closed at all times when not in actual use, except that the door of any dwelling which forms a part of the enclosure need not be so equipped. The self-closing or self-latching devices shall be placed no less than four (4) feet above the bottom of the enclosure or otherwise made inaccessible from the outside to small children.
Aboveground pools constructed with steps and a platform circling the pool and not otherwise enclosed shall have the platform enclosed and a gate provided at the top of the steps, such enclosure and gate meeting the criteria as described herein.
This requirement shall be applicable to all properties on which swimming pools or fish ponds or family pools as described herein are now situate and hereafter constructed or created.
This requirement shall be applicable to all new swimming pools or family pools hereafter constructed, other than indoor pools, and shall apply to all existing pools which have a minimum depth of eighteen (18) inches of water.
No person in possession of land within the city, either as owner, purchaser, lessee, tenant or a licensee, upon which is situated a swimming pool or family pool having a minimum depth of eighteen (18) inches shall fail to provide and maintain such fence or wall as herein provided.
Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or any organization of any kind affected by the provisions of this chapter and required to comply with its provisions shall first ensure to the city that such compliance regarding such fences or enclosures shall not restrict existing city easements.
The Commission may make modification, in individual cases, upon the showing of good cause with respect to height, nature or location of the fence, wall, gates or latches, or the necessity therefor, provided that the protection as sought hereunder is not reduced thereby. The Commission may permit other protective devices or structures to be used, as long as the degree of protection afforded by the substitute devices or structures is not less than the protection afforded by the wall, fence, gate and latch described herein. The Commission shall allow a reasonable period within which to comply with the requirements of this chapter.
[Amended 9-10-1991 by Ord. No. 91-05]
All fences shall be regulated by this chapter with the exclusion of earth- or water-retaining walls and living walls which shall be governed by other portions of this Code. All fences shall be constructed of masonry, wood, metal or other materials appropriate to their location and purpose.
The fence structure shall be adequate to withstand wind loading and shall in no way inhibit or divert the free flow of surface water from its natural course prior to the installation.
If posts or supporting members are in or on the ground, they shall be of decay-, corrosion- and termite-resistant material, whether treated or natural.
All fences shall be maintained in a nonhazardous condition and shall not be allowed to become dilapidated.
All fences shall be located completely within the property line and not within any public right-of-way. No fence shall be permitted to be within or to enclose any drainage easement, water meter or manhole, except upon the written authorization of the Building Official. Said authorization shall be revocable. Fences may be permitted within utility easements, subject to the city's right to remove or demand removal by the property owner at no cost to the city. The city shall in no case be responsible for the replacement or restoration of any fence located within an easement. A suitable gate to provide access will be provided when utility meters are enclosed by a fence.
[Amended 3-15-1994 by Ord. No. 94-08]
All fences shall be constructed so that the side of the fence facing or viewable from the public right-of-way or an adjoining property shall be the finished side of the fence in terms of materials and their treatment, with all support posts and stringers to be placed facing inward toward the applicant's property.
A permit to allow the finished side of a fence to face toward the applicant's property may be issued by the Building Official, when both of the following conditions have been met:
This provision shall not be subject to special exceptions.
All fences are permitted to a maximum of six (6) feet in all zoning distances, except where appropriate as a buffer between residential and commercial uses, fence heights may exceed six (6) feet but not be greater than eight (8) feet within a required side or rear yard.
In residentially zoned districts, the only fence forward of the front building setback line that shall be allowed shall be a fence not in excess of thirty-six (36) inches in height and not greater than fifty-percent opacity. On waterfront property, a fence, wall or hedge within the required twenty-five-foot rear yard setback (measured from the seawall) shall not exceed three (3) feet in height; provided, however, that a visually-open-type fence is permitted to a height not to exceed four (4) feet.
All height measurements shall be from average ground level.
On parcels defined as through lots, where ingress or egress is prohibited from one (1) of the abutting streets by plat covenants, the yard area adjacent to the said streets from which ingress or egress is prohibited shall be considered to be a rear yard for fence height and installation purposes.
All fences located in public easements will comply with the provisions of any subdivision regulations and any other applicable provisions of the City Code, or other applicable regulations.
No additional fence shall be permitted in a subdivision, condominium or other project of record other than that which was approved subject to a specific fence, wall or landscaping requirement established as part of the site plan approval process.
All chain-link fences should be installed with the pointed ends to the ground. No electrically charged fence shall be erected in the city.
[Amended 9-10-1991 by Ord. No. 91-05]
It shall be unlawful to erect, construct, install or maintain the following fence structures:
A fence which is, in whole or in part, beyond the boundary of private property.
A fence which is within six (6) feet of a fire hydrant.
A fence, wall, hedge or group of plantings that creates a visual obstruction as that term is defined in § 103-1.
[Amended 4-27-1993 by Ord. No. 93-08]
A fence in dilapidated condition, which appearance is neglected, unkempt or the condition of which, in whole or in part, is in substantial disrepair and, as a consequence, is either unsound, hazardous or ineffectual.
Any fence erected containing any hazardous substance such as broken glass, barbed wire, spikes, nails or similar materials designed to inflict pain or injury to any person or animal. Any fences constructed of such materials shall be deemed to be a public nuisance.
Barbed wire may be permitted by special exception, granted by the City Commission, only when all the following conditions exist:
An open storage land use is permitted or permitted by special exception in the zoning district, and such special exception has been granted.
Atop a fence or wall, no less than six (6) feet in height.
An open storage land use is actually employed.
Only for that specific portion of the property on which the open storage is to be located.
The property owner can demonstrate that no other fence will provide sufficient security and that his materials are especially at risk.
Letters of no objection have been received and filed with the city from all property owners abutting the area to be enclosed by barbed wire.
No barbed wire shall abut a public roadway or sidewalk.
The City Commission may impose such other conditions as to time, location or appearance as it shall deem necessary to protect the community and abutting property owners. Any failure to comply with such conditions at any time shall immediately void the special exception.
[Amended 9-10-1991 by Ord. No. 91-05]
All fences erected after September 15, 1991, shall require a building permit prior to their installation or erection, and it shall be unlawful for any person to erect, alter or locate a fence within the city without first having made application for and having been issued a permit therefor. A building permit is required for fence replacement or any repair of existing fences exceeding fifty percent (50%) or more of the value of the existing fence.
Application for a fence permit shall be made to the Building Official and shall include a full site plan, to scale and in duplicate, showing:
All structures on the site.
All easements, rights-of-way and dedications.
Legal description of the site and street address.
Proposed location, length and height of fence.
Description of the materials contained in the fence.
Survey prepared by a licensed land surveyor. (The Building Official, in his discretion, may waive this requirement.)
The Building Official is hereby authorized to issue a fence permit upon finding that the proposed fence is in compliance with the provisions of this chapter and upon payment of the appropriate fee as set forth in the fee schedule which is adopted and kept on file at the Department of Community Improvement.
[Amended 2-18-1986 by Ord. No. 85-29; 9-10-1991 by Ord. No. 91-05]
The following fences are exempt from the provisions of § 103-6:
Temporary fences constructed of materials approved by the Building Official and not in excess of eight (8) feet in height which are erected at a construction site for the purpose of security and protection.
Fences erected at the order of police officers, fire officials, building or other city officers or officials for the protection of the public.
[Amended 9-10-1991 by Ord. No. 91-05; 4-27-1993 by Ord. No. 93-08]
[Amended 9-10-1991 by Ord. No. 91-05; 1-24-1995 by Ord. No. 94-25]
In requesting a variance from the provisions of this chapter, the procedures for variances in Chapter 130, Land Development Regulations, shall be followed. Where, owing to special conditions, a literal enforcement of the provisions of this chapter would result in unnecessary and undue hardship, the City Commission may grant a variance. Prior to consideration by the City Commission, the variance request shall be submitted to the Planning and Zoning Board for its review and recommendation. In considering variance requests, the Planning and Zoning Board shall make findings on the three (3) criteria listed below and shall make a recommendation for approval or denial. The Commission shall not grant a variance unless the Commission finds affirmatively on the following three (3) criteria, which are in place of the criteria listed in City Code § 130-47:
The special circumstances of the applicant are peculiar to this structure or premises and do not apply generally to other structures in the vicinity.
The variance sought does not result from an action by the applicant or from an action which had knowledge or approval of the applicant.
The variance sought does not substantially impair the purpose or intent of this chapter, is not merely a convenience to the applicant and shall not be a detriment to the public welfare. In making a recommendation, the Planning and Zoning Board may request that conditions be attached to the variance. In granting a variance, the City Commission may attach such reasonable conditions and safeguards as it deems necessary to implement the purposes of this chapter.