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Old 07-07-2007, 07:48 PM   #1
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Tall Fence, Fun with zoning


Has anyone ever built a really tall free standing fence? How do you insure that it stays straight, true and doesnt get blown over by the wind?

I have a neighbor I dont care for much and he's doing things to the limit of zoning. So, what's good for the goose... it seems that there's no rule in my town for max height of fences either... and I also have a wind problem here. So I'm thinking he's going to lose any view he had real soon. Max building height is 34' lol.

OK so I wont go that high but if the posts sit on the cement footing how do you keep the thing from twisting and blowing over?
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Old 07-07-2007, 08:34 PM   #2
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Tall Fence, Fun with zoning


If you are worried, you should be. 34' does not make sense.

If you can settle for 15 or 20' high, copy the fences for a highway sound barrier. Those do not really stay plumb, but from a distance they look O.K.

The posts do not sit on a concrete footing. They go deep into the ground. You do not build a high fence without going down into the ground.
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Old 07-07-2007, 09:11 PM   #3
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Tall Fence, Fun with zoning


A 34' high fence........surley you jest Nothing attached to pipes that tall will even survive, much less stay straight. If you are serious about the height, you better get out your checkbook, because the only thing that will stand a chance that high IMO is a concrete block wall that is properly built. That means driving pilings , pouring a reinforced concrete footing, and building a wall, complete with vertical rebars in every couple of cells filled with concrete, horizontal "ladders" of reinforcing wire (stock at masonry supply), and a top row of U shaped blocks, with rebar in it and poured with concrete to form a bond beam.

Not a home project, even for a self proclaimed "extreme" do it yourselfer.

If there are regulations for building height, that tells me you are within some zoning restrictions, so I promise there will be regulations regarding fences, and 34' high is not going to be okay.

Last edited by troubleseeker; 07-07-2007 at 09:16 PM.
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Old 07-10-2007, 03:31 PM   #4
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Tall Fence, Fun with zoning


It's windy where I live and to build even a 5' fence the posts have to be 3' in the ground (cemented in) to keep the fence up very long. Twisting is something else again and I don't know how you can stop that with wood.

Meanwhile, neighbour or not, have you considered how far your property value might drop with an extreme fence? I would consider that a very big red flag when shopping for a house.

Seems to me you'd be better to be planting some tall growing columnar trees. Same effect without looking like a war is going on and not nearly as much work as building and maintaining a massive fence.
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Old 07-10-2007, 03:44 PM   #5
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Tall Fence, Fun with zoning


Wouldn't you want your neighbour to pay half the cost of the fence? and be nice with each other?
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Old 07-12-2007, 07:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KUI****G View Post
Wouldn't you want your neighbour to pay half the cost of the fence? and be nice with each other?
The "neighbor" is a developer. I want to detract from others wanting to build there. ...and Ive tried the nice route. Unless the neighborhood convinces the town to require him to have screening I dont see him doing it. He has done NOTHING else he has said he would do. I dont think it's right that he's able to capitalize on the fact that I have a beautiful home and yard with 5 acres to pluck a subdivision with <1 acre lots on top of me. I did not realize you can subdivide within a subdivision when I purchased the property... but there is no ordinance.

I was exaggerating (A LOT) about the 34'... I just thought it was funny that there was no limit except that it had to be built right of course. Yes, obviously the posts will go into the ground... but should there also be a footing? I was picturing drilled holes with a three point hitch post hole digger (not sure how deep they can go), poured footing (poured into hole in drilled clay soil) probably at frost line or below (48"). It's windy here too... in fact the fence would be west of the house and would probably save me several 100 a year on fuel oil... really.

I may also resurrect my dune buggy with straight exhaust and make a track on the property line. If I ever see prospective buyers back there I just go out for a run. I will also be throwing my 15" Emminence subs out on the back deck for a few parties. Maybe I can let the local kids paint some grafitti on the back of the garage too.
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Old 07-22-2007, 05:00 PM   #7
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Tall Fence, Fun with zoning


OK he went to the town zoning board of appeals for an area variance. He tried for 6 lots, 4 of which were non conforming in at least one fashion.
I showed up with 9 neighbors all in protest.
The guy finally got an engineer but he's no better of a speaker and didnt seem very experienced. I wrote a 4 page discertation but only read two of them. I drew a map of the area showing how it did not fit into the neighborhood. I touched on all 5 points of the local law that the zba looks at to grant a variance. The applicant nor his engineer tried to refute anything I said. Then when the applicant did say one thing, he got caught in yet another lie and a neighbor called him on it.
Anyway, they basically got schooled by me...lol and were unanimously denied.
Fence on hold for now. It was a moral victory, we'll see what he comes back with.
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Old 07-22-2007, 06:58 PM   #8
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Tall Fence, Fun with zoning


If it doesn't work out, you could put a line of screening trees in. They stand a better chance of staying upright up in high winds.
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Old 07-22-2007, 07:54 PM   #9
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Tall Fence, Fun with zoning


Good for you. You must feel pretty good about your efforts.

Do pay very close attention to what is happening and make friends with as many people as you can who have any say over permits, development, zoning, etc. If this guy is smart, he will start working politically to get what he wants and you need to stay ahead of him. Look for anything you can use to discredit them or to keep things going in your favour because you don't want to get blindsided.

Believe me, the lengths some developers will go has no bounds. My first house was up against a developer who wanted to build a large building next door. The community association and I fought it for two years. The city planners, engineers, traffic coordinators, forest mgnt (a lot of ancient trees were at stake), and bylaws said it couldn't be done as it broke their rules for building. There were petitions, news stories, and everything else you hear of people doing as this thing barreled along. The authorities were called over some illegal activities the developer had going on. In the end, city council approved the building, I sold my house to them, and moved. Through some crafty donations (local, regional and as high as national politicians) the developer locked up enough votes and had enough pressure applied to get what they wanted, forget all the city employees who nixed it, forget the community, forget the existing laws.

If you do one thing, it's get your local politicians on your side before he gets them on his. It really helps to have that bit of power that can work it's way up. Our local representative got bought through donations and favours, when the vote went down those who were undecided said they would vote the way the local rep did assuming the rep was on top of things. That did not help us at all but that's what happens so fair warning.

I wish you luck. You may be up for a long battle but maybe, just maybe, you can make this guy so miserable he will sell or build according to what the community would like.
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Old 08-19-2007, 04:04 PM   #10
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Tall Fence, Fun with zoning


Update for you guys... several weeks after he was denied the variances by the zba he had someone brush hog again. I then left on vacation for several weeks. When I returned, there was a for sale sign!

Maybe he finally saw the light?
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Old 08-19-2007, 04:48 PM   #11
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You must feel relieved. Here's hoping they get a buyer whose plans work with what you and the other neighbours want.
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Old 08-19-2007, 09:09 PM   #12
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Why doesn't the greedy pig just get as many conforming lots as he can and build on them? But from your perspective, isn't his failure sweet?

An old line bottom feeder builder got hold of an adjacent piece of property to me and sub divided into two lots that can not meet the mininum sq footage by more than three decimal places. Not happy to put one house on a nice size lot and take a profit and move on, the greed won out and he crammed a too large house on each mininum lot, with obvious visions of $$ in his mind. They are totally out of context with the neighborhood, and I smile to myself every day when I pass the for sale signs that have been on them for three years, no exaggeration, three years.
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Old 08-20-2007, 06:22 AM   #13
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Tall Fence, Fun with zoning


That's what I expected really... that he'd come back with another plan. The shape of the lot and the fact that he wasted a bunch of money on a road base already that's in the wrong place makes it so he could do two marketable lots and one really crap lot. That's just not enough to pay for the road. But everyone else knew that and tried to tell him. But he's flukey so I dont imagine it's completely over yet. I'm hoping that he never realized how opposed the neighbors were. Plus his wife was with him and upon his first try (this was like the third or fourth) she said, "just build one house and retire."
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