Citing safety concerns, New Castle council considers permits for some fences |

Citing safety concerns, New Castle council considers permits for some fences

New Castle residents and business owners wanting to build a fence on their property could soon be required to get a permit from the town before doing so.

Earlier this week, the New Castle Town Council unanimously approved a first reading of an ordinance that would implement permit and inspection requirements for the installation of fences taller than 42 inches.

Under the town’s existing building code, only fences higher than 7 feet require permits and inspections.

The ordinance requires a second reading, which will occur at the Feb. 4 town council meeting before taking effect shortly thereafter should it pass.

According to the ordinance “fences are being built without town oversight and often in excess of the height limits set forth in the code.”

“The thing that prompted this is safety issues,” David Reynolds, New Castle town administrator, said. “We’ve got fences that are going up that are too close to intersections and corners to where the line of sight for traffic can’t see around the fences.”

Whether commercial or residential, anyone wishing to put up a fence would be required to provide the town with a sketch plan that includes neighboring streets and structures, the distance of the fence from relevant lot lines and the fence’s height.

As proposed, fencing permit applications would cost $25.

“It’s a minimal cost for the permit,” Reynolds said. “We don’t want to make this difficult for anybody.”

The ordinance would allow for a few exceptions.

Wildlife fencing (deer, elk or rabbit fencing) used to minimize damage to vegetation from wildlife does not require a permit.

Neither does construction fencing or any other fence exempted at the discretion of the town.

“We just want to make sure that folks that want to put in a fence understand how to do it right the first time so that we’re not asking them to make changes to it after the fact,” Reynolds said.

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