City of Marlborough, MA
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Added 12-16-1985 by Ord. No. 85-325A]
A. 
No fence, barrier, wall, plant or hedge wall may be erected, repaired, modified or installed within the City of Marlborough without a permit issued through the Office of the Building Commissioner.
[Amended 10-6-2014 by Ord. No. 14-1005921A]
B. 
Application for said permit shall be made with the Building Department on forms prepared and supplied by the Department.
C. 
The Building Commissioner will grant permits upon determination that the type of fence, its location and other specifications are in full compliance with all the provisions of this article and all other City ordinances.
[Amended 10-6-2014 by Ord. No. 14-1005921A]
A. 
No fence or barrier shall exceed six feet in height, except in the case of manufacturing plants, truck and bus parking lots, school yards, electric transformer installations, commercial storage and auto salvage yards, aboveground storage tanks for volatile or hazardous materials, livestock pens and dog kennels, all municipal yards and facilities, road overpasses, ball fields and the like, where safety and security considerations shall require a greater height.
B. 
Property side-line fences and/or barriers running from the street line or sidewalk line into a property shall not exceed three feet in height for a distance of 15 feet into said properties, except for the same safety and security needs indicated in Subsection A above. Within said fifteen-foot distance along the property side line, the Building Commissioner may further restrict or deny the erection of a fence when its height, added to a rise, embankment, wall or ridge along the same side line, would obstruct a clear view up and down the street from any proximate driveway, walkway or bicycle path entering the street, except, again, those situations where the safety and security requirements of Subsection A above shall override the traffic considerations of Subsection B.
[Amended 10-6-2014 by Ord. No. 14-1005921A]
C. 
Fences and/or barriers running or erected within 15 feet of the front property line and/or parallel to the same shall be no more than three feet in height and, as with side-line fences within the same fifteen-foot distance, must permit the same field of vision along the street from proximate driveways, walkways and bicycle paths entering said street. Safety and security considerations of Subsection A may override traffic considerations of this Subsection C as in the case of side-line fences in Subsection B.
All lot perimeter fences or barriers shall be set back from property lines a reasonable distance to allow their construction and maintenance without trespass on neighbors' property, unless a fence is co-owned by all parties involved and application is made by the several parties collectively. These "party fences" may be erected along property lines as mutually agreed and described in the application form filed with the Building Department.
All living (shrubs or bushes) fences or barriers or hedges shall conform to all height restrictions applicable to other fences in this article with regard to the fifteen-foot distance from street lines and side lines.
All barbed wire fences and electric fences shall be clearly marked with hunter orange blazes at intervals of 20 feet. Barbed wire and electric fences shall be permitted, and living fences with sharp thorns may be planted only on those properties in RR Zoned Districts where livestock numbering five or more are actually kept and raised. No type fence will be allowed in the City on which a person or domesticated animal could become impaled, torn, slashed, mutilated or otherwise grievously injured.
A. 
On any lot subject to an easement, the owner or applicant shall procure a release in writing from the holder of the easement, and said release shall be attached to the application for a fence filed with the Building Department.
B. 
No fence shall be erected that will prevent the use of a right-of-way which has been established by adverse usage.
The foregoing restrictions on fence heights shall not apply to a fence erected to contain a recreational facility, such as baseball backstops, spectator bleachers, tennis courts, archery ranges, swimming pools and like installations.
All fences and living fences existing at the time of this article's adoption shall be brought into compliance with this article at the time of their replacement, rebuilding or replanting, but no later than five years from the date this article became effective.
A fine of $10 per day shall be imposed for violators of this article, commencing with the 10th day following constructive delivery of a violation notice from the Building Department.
A. 
The height restrictions governing fences in this article shall be equally applicable to freestanding walls built in the City after the date this article came into effect.
B. 
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this article, no wall shall be built or maintained at any time where said wall is capped with broken glass, stone shards, metallic points or other jagged objects which could do bodily harm to a person or animal coming into contact with the same.
[Amended 6-1-1987 by Ord. No. 87-1370B; 10-6-2014 by Ord. No. 14-1005921A]
The Fence Viewers of the City of Marlborough, upon appeal to them by an applicant who has been denied a fence permit by the Building Commissioner, after due notice and open hearing, may waive or vary, in the particular case, specific requirement(s) of this article where, in their majority opinion, the enforcement thereof would do manifest injustice or cause undue hardship to an applicant for a permit, provided that the decision of the Fence Viewers shall not conflict with the spirit and safety concerns of this article. The burden of proof of the manifest hardship or injustice shall be the responsibility of the applicant.
In addition to any fees to which they may be entitled under applicable Massachusetts General Laws, each Fence Viewer shall be paid the sum of $7 for each appeal hearing the Fence Viewer attends and participates in. The applicant shall be responsible for payment of said fees, payment to be made to the City of Marlborough, prior to said appeal hearing, in an amount equal to $7 times the number of Fence Viewers then holding said office. Seven dollars shall be abated to the applicant for each Fence Viewer not present and participating in said appeal hearing.
[Added 10-19-1992 by Ord. No. 91-3938B]
Fences and walls shall be maintained in good repair and presentable appearance or replaced.