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Thread: Architectural treatment on buildings that go property line to property line

  1. #1
    Jan 2005
    Carlsbad, CA

    Architectural treatment on buildings that go property line to property line

    Can anyone point me to any good examples or have suggestions on how to treat the side elevations on the second floors and above of buildings that go property line to property line in a dwontown area? This is assuiming that the adjacent properties haven't been built over one-story but will redevelop multi-story buildings in the future so of course the builder is not going to want to put real windows on those sides in addition to it not being allowed by the building code.

  2. #2
    Oct 2006
    Redwood City, CA
    How we'd handle this in San Francisco varies by the use. But the common practice is to require a change in materials which provides depth and/or texture. Then, depending on the scale and use type, we'll require lightwells or setbacks. Windows along property lines can be ok'd by the building department so long as they're fire-rated and so long as the owner signs a document that states he'll remove them should the adjacent property cover them.

    Hope that helps.

  3. #3
    Mar 2012
    San Francisco

    Windows on property lines

    I recently bought a property with a garden. The condo next to my garden has clear glass windows right on the property line. An architect has mentioned to me that it is the neighbors' responsibility to close the windows if I increase the height of my fence. The same architect had mentioned to me also that I can talk to my neighbors to ask them to change the clear glass window to a translucent glass so they can still get natural light but both parties can achieve to have privacy. If they dont agree, I can plan to increase height of my fence, however I want to avoid that if I can.
    What exactly is the SF regulations regarding windows on property lines? What is my neighbors' responsibility and what is mine and what I can do?
    Please note that my property was built after the condo next to me was built. So I dont know what the agreements if there is anything that was done in the past prior to my acquition of my house.
    Any insights or information how to handle the situation is highly appreciated.
    Thank you.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
    Jun 2002
    Southeast US
    Welcome to Cyburbia, Manila.

    Walls on property lines are covered by the Building Code. You asked about SF rules and options. Call the SF Building Permit Department for info and help. Also, you may need a permit to construct a fence or to extend one - there are also height limits.

    I think you are to be commended by trying to work with your neighbor. You may even offer to provide exterior tinting or opaque plastic sheeting on his window (with his permission) so that he will have no expense.

    Your architect friend (or fence company) could also design a fence that would "box out" an area (set the fence back from the property line a couple of feet) at the window so he would still have access to light and air above. (Concrete the area between the fence and his window to prevent grass and weed growth and drainage entrapment problems.) You may need to provide access so he can maintain or repair his window if needed (with your permission to enter your property for his access acces to his wall).

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