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Regulation 🙅‍♀️ Privacy fencing on corner lot

Mystik989

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4
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Hi there! First post here and hope I did this correct!

This may have already been covered, but couldn’t seem to find any information perhaps pertaining to my specific situation. We live on a corner lot and are in the process of filing a variance in regards to fencing in a portion of our yard. Our town (central CT) determines that we have two front yards, which is normal in regards to corner lot properties here. It says no higher than 4K’, and we want a 6’ for privacy. However, what I can’t determine is what is considered our side/rear yard as per the town SPECIFICALLY.

When I called the town five years ago about the notion of fencing they told me we should be fine, and that the homeowner may determine which is the rear yard because our dwelling sits about 5 feet from neighbors property line (or something along those lines). However now that we are finally getting to the point of affording the fencing, the town says that only 4’ is allowed because of the frontage.

We are intending on building a vinyl fence along the roadside where those shrubs sit in the pictures via google earth hyperlink- Yellow house, and ending before the d

Are there specific minimum dimensions that a rear/side yard is supposed to have? Is it possible that we don’t have an official backyard? Shouldn’t this area be considered a rear yard?

Thanks in advance for any help/guidance!
 

luckless pedestrian

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,192
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55
typically corner lots, or any lot that has multiple frontages has only front and side yards for the purposes of setbacks with no rear lot lines. It makes sense because the property lines abutting the corner lot are all side yards.

I am sure there are exceptions when someone makes trapezoid lots or something but in general, there should be no rear lot lines for corner lots

Welcome btw from the Queen City in Maine - don't forget to introduce yourself in the intro thread!
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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15,352
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60
In my city, you have two front setbacks, but have a front yard, corner side yard, side yard and rear yard.

We permit a more than 3 foot fence in the corner side yard's front setback, but setback at least 15 from the property line to permit adequate sight lines between the car and the sidewalk and/or the street (and to permit more contiguous yard area within the fenced area).

In your case @Mystik989, you're probably out of luck. I too have a corner lot and in order to maintain an 'open' cultural image, fencing gets severely restricted.

Lastly, we can't really give you definitive legal direction as we don't administer your code and there are not universally accepted and codified such regulations across the country. Each municipal jurisdiction is going to be different enough.

But...good luck.
 

dw914er

Cyburbian
Messages
1,560
Points
21
You will need to research how your City's code reads to figure out the requirements. The Code for my City establishes a Front Yard, Street Side Yard, Side Yard, and Rear Yard, and has the provisions to determine which is the front and street side yard locations - our neighboring city has different provisions in their code.

You will also have to see if the City has established norms or policies to address the street facing fence; prior places I have worked at required a minimum 5 foot landscape planter to soften the fence.
 

Mystik989

Member
Messages
4
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0
You will need to research how your City's code reads to figure out the requirements. The Code for my City establishes a Front Yard, Street Side Yard, Side Yard, and Rear Yard, and has the provisions to determine which is the front and street side yard locations - our neighboring city has different provisions in their code.

You will also have to see if the City has established norms or policies to address the street facing fence; prior places I have worked at required a minimum 5 foot landscape planter to soften the fence.
Thanks for the feedback! I should be able to find that somewhere within the towns online zoning regulations correct? Do you think I would be able to call the zoning director and they can tell me definitively? Or are they not required to disclose that information?
 

luckless pedestrian

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Thanks for the feedback! I should be able to find that somewhere within the towns online zoning regulations correct? Do you think I would be able to call the zoning director and they can tell me definitively? Or are they not required to disclose that information?

You can call, yes or look it up - it's a good exercise to look it up and then verify by calling, so you can get used to looking up your own property online.
 

Mystik989

Member
Messages
4
Points
0
In my city, you have two front setbacks, but have a front yard, corner side yard, side yard and rear yard.

We permit a more than 3 foot fence in the corner side yard's front setback, but setback at least 15 from the property line to permit adequate sight lines between the car and the sidewalk and/or the street (and to permit more contiguous yard area within the fenced area).

In your case @Mystik989, you're probably out of luck. I too have a corner lot and in order to maintain an 'open' cultural image, fencing gets severely restricted.

Lastly, we can't really give you definitive legal direction as we don't administer your code and there are not universally accepted and codified such regulations across the country. Each municipal jurisdiction is going to be different enough.

But...good luck.
Thanks for your feedback! I don’t know if you specifically saw the picture of my property, but I don’t think it would absolutely interfere with driver impediment but I also know rules are rules. I’m just trying to determine how the town specifically determines where is my back/side yard. When I called five years ago the guy clearly said due to location of dwelling in proximity to property line (where blue house is) he said something along the lines that “the homeowner may establish where the rear yard is” - or SOMETHING to that affect. Does that sound legitimate at all? I’m just trying to get details before I perhaps pursue a variance
 

Doohickie

Cyburbian
Messages
3,750
Points
46
We permit a more than 3 foot fence in the corner side yard's front setback, but setback at least 15 from the property line to permit adequate sight lines between the car and the sidewalk and/or the street
I don't see site lines being an issue here. I looked into fencing in our front yard at our last house, on a corner lot (thinking of a front yard picket fence) and I remember there was a restriction in height (3 or 4 feet, forget now), and also a "site easement" on the lot that as a 45 degree cut across the corner of our yard that abutted the two streets. In your case, your yard was well off of what my easement was, but as others said, we can't comment on the specifics of zoning in your locale.
 

Mystik989

Member
Messages
4
Points
0
I don't see site lines being an issue here. I looked into fencing in our front yard at our last house, on a corner lot (thinking of a front yard picket fence) and I remember there was a restriction in height (3 or 4 feet, forget now), and also a "site easement" on the lot that as a 45 degree cut across the corner of our yard that abutted the two streets. In your case, your yard was well off of what my easement was, but as others said, we can't comment on the specifics of zoning in your locale.
Thanks so much for your feedback! The fence corner would be approx 75 feet from the corner so there’s no viable way it would be a sight line issue. Our zoning enforcement officer has told me that he’s never received a variance for corner lot fencing, however after driving through town there are PLENTY of houses within town that have similar setups with 6 foot fences along the rear of the secondary street “frontage area.” So does this mean that people just built regardless of what the regulations say? We currently aren’t required to get a permit to construct a fence, so do I just go for it? He said the variance would be probably a 50/50 proposition. Plus it takes time and about $350.

In addition, he also said the house is considered legally non confirming because it doesn’t meet current setback requirements. Does this mean the board would be more likely to be sympathetic to my plight, or does it make no difference whatsoever.
 
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