I was driving around town and saw a newly constructed fence around a home. The two-by-fours supporting the fence were facing the street, with the “good” side of the fence facing the home. It looked like a mistake. Doesn’t the “good” side have to face outward? What are the city laws, if any, on this? Sign me, Don’t Fence Me In
What an interesting concept, that a fence can have a “good” side and a “bad” side.
Can lumber have a Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde personality disorder?
It’s a conundrum best posed to Mrs. Action Line, because Mrs. Action Line sees the good in everything.
Except bindweed and prickly lettuce in the buffalo grass lawn in front of the house.
Mrs. Action cannot abide these thugs, and she attacks them with vigor each weekend.
Weeds take heed: You are on Mrs. Action Line’s list. And she’s armed with a formidable digging tool, a kneeling bench, SPF 70 sunscreen, gloves and a wide-brim hat.
Weeds don’t stand a chance against Mrs. Action Line.
And regarding “good” or “bad” fences, Mrs. Action Line won’t take sides, other than preferring the “good neighbor fence” in which pickets are alternately placed on either side of the support rails.
“But for heaven’s sake, spring for the expensive stainless steel screws because they don’t leave those ugly streaks down the pickets as they age,” she implored.
So that makes two things Mrs. Action Line won’t accept: pesky weeds and cheap galvanized fasteners.
In any case, the city of Durango doesn’t use “good” or “bad” in its guidelines for in-town fences.
Instead, the city’s code says “structural framework must be oriented to the interior of the property.”
So the “outie” is not allowed, but an “innie” is in.
Not that privacy fences are bellybuttons.
The city has prepared a handy two-page summary for anyone needing to know the ins and outs (or the innies and outies) of fence construction. The document is at http://tinyurl.com/dgo-fence.
You could also read the city’s Land Use and Development Code, section 3-5-1-1. But it lacks the pretty pictures and illustrated examples.
Therefore, the offensive fence is on the wrong side of the code. Or maybe not.
The city will grant a variance if the property owners and their neighbors agree to the design, said our good friend Craig Roser, city planner.
So just because you see exposed support structure, it might not be a violation, he added.
Also, please note that the city won’t make scofflaws tear down and rebuild a fence.
“There are no fence Nazis on the prowl,” Craig reassured with a chuckle. “Trust me, we have better things to do.”
Fences can be a pesky issue for planning and code compliance because many weekend warriors aren’t familiar with the guidelines, which clearly show the reasonable height and transparency requirements along with acceptable materials to use.
Craig asked that Action Line remind fence-builders that a construction permit is not required; however, there is a $50 fence permit fee.
The fee, payable at the planning department, allows city staff to make a quick review of a fence sketch to keep local Ph.Ds from making big mistakes.
As we all know, Ph.D stands for Posthole Digger.
Also, as a 411, you need to call 811. That’s the free utilities and infrastructure location service.
Calling 811 will help prevent your mild-mannered Dr. Jekyll fence project from turning into a costly Mr. Hyde nightmare.
Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if your split rail fence has a split personality.