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  • Most fences 8 feet high or lower don't require a permit.

What Is It?

A fence is a free-standing wall used for privacy or protection; it may or may not be attached to a building.

What Permits Do You Need?

You don’t need a permit if you’re building a fence 8 feet high or lower that doesn’t have masonry or concrete pieces over 6 feet.

If you’re building a taller fence, you need a construction permit. Most fences require only a construction subject-to-field-inspection permit, which is issued over the counter, typically on the day you apply. For your permit application, you’ll need to submit an application and 2 copies of scaled plans, including 1) a site plan, 2) section and detail drawings, and 3) construction notes.

Research the Code

You can build fences almost anywhere on your property; they don’t contribute toward your lot coverage limit. This limit is the percentage of your lot that can be covered by a house and other buildings, such as garages.

Your fence height is limited to 6 feet, with an additional 2 feet of architectural features such as trellises. On a sloping site, your fence can be 8 feet high, if the average height between posts is 6 feet. If you want to build a fence on a bulkhead or retaining wall in a required yard, there are additional height limits. Please come into the Applicant Services Center for coaching.

If you want to build near an environmentally critical area, such as a wetland or steep slope, there are different restrictions you must follow.

Should You Hire a Professional?

Fence drawings rarely require a professional stamp (indicating they were created by an architect or engineer). You can prepare the drawings yourself or hire a professional to help you.

What Do You Want To Do?

Still Need Help?

 Ask Us

  • Call us at (206) 684-8850
  • Visit the Applicant Services Center
    700 5th Avenue, 20th floor
    M, W, F: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    T, Th: 10:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    (arrive before 2:00 p.m. for walk-in service)