City of Saginaw MI -
Building a Fence

Regulations for fences are necessary because there are times when a tall fence is appropriate, for example a fence around a factory, and there are times when it is not appropriate, such as in the front yard of a residential property. The following are the general requirements for fences in Saginaw.

Definitions

Open Construction Fence: A fence of open construction is one in which the ratio of the open portion to the closed portion is at least 1 to 1 per foot.

Closed Construction Fence: A fence of closed construction is one in which the ratio of the closed portion to the open portion is more than 1 to 1 per foot.

Placement

Fences may be erected right up to the property line, no setback required. An exception to this is when the fence placement would prevent the use of adjacent property or prevent the safe use of a driveway. In these cases, the Chief Inspector may require the fence to be set back a minimum distance from the driveway or property line.

Fences in Residential & Restricted Office Districts

Fences in the front yard or the street side yard (on corner lots)

Height - Fences can be no more than four (4) feet tall in the front yard area or in the street side yard area on corner lots.

Type - Fences in the front and street side yard area must be of open construction.

Fences in the rear yard or interior side yard areas

Height - Fences in the rear yard area and in the interior side yard area can be no more than six (6) feet tall.

Type - Fences in the rear yard and interior side yard areas may be of open or closed construction.

Exception - When an abutting dwelling has a door or window (except basement window) located less than 5 ft. from the fence, the fence must be reduced to 4 ft. in height if it is of closed construction.

Light Grey - Maximum Height 4' Open Construction

Dark Grey - Maximum Height 6' Open or Closed Construction

* - Fences less than 5 feet from a window or door (except basement window) of an abutting dwelling must be 4 feet tall if of closed construction.

Fences in Business and Industrial Districts

Fences in the front yard and street side yard area on corner lots

Height - Fences in required front and street side yard areas may not exceed four (4) feet in height.

Type - Fences in required front and street side yard areas must be of open construction.

Fences in the rear yard and interior side yard areas

Height - In Commercial Districts, fences in the rear yard, interior side yard and non-required front and street side yard areas can be no higher than 6 ft. tall. In Industrial Districts, fences in the rear yard, interior side yard and non-required front and street side yard areas can be no higher than 8 ft. tall.

Type - Fences in these areas can be of open or closed construction. The use of barbed wire above 6 ft. from grade is allowed in the industrial districts and may be allowed in the business districts where open storage is allowed provided that the Board of Appeals on Zoning approves a special exception where there is unique or exceptional circumstances.

Exception - Residential uses in business and industrial zones shall comply with the fence requirements for Residential and Restricted Office Districts.

Unobstructed Site Distance

No fence, structure, hedge or planting shall be erected which will obstruct the view of drivers in vehicles approaching an intersection of two streets or an intersection of a street and a driveway or the intersection of a street and an alley. Fences or plantings located in the triangular areas described below shall not be permitted to obstruct visibility between a height of thirty (30) inches and eight (8) feet.

Unobstructed Site Area

The unobstructed triangular area is described as follows:

The area formed at the intersection of two streets bounded by the curb lines extended to the point of the intersection and by a base line intersecting each curb 60 feet from the point of intersection.

The area formed at the intersection at a public right-of-way and a driveway, the two (2) sides at the triangular area being ten (10) feet in length measured along the right-of-way line and the edge at the driveway, and the third side being a line connecting these two sides. (See Accompanying Clear Vision Graphic)

Materials

Fences shall consist of materials commonly used in conventional fence construction, such as wood or metal. If, because of design or construction, one side of the fence has a more finished appearance than the other, the side of the fence with the more finished appearance shall face the exterior of the lot.

Electric Fences

The use of electricity in any fence is prohibited in the City of Saginaw.

Miscellaneous

There are other rules and regulations for fences around schools, playgrounds, parks and public utility installations that have not been listed in this handout. If additional information is needed, or if you are not sure about the type of fence which can be erected on your property, you may call Planning & Zoning at City Hall at (989)759-1303.

Download our Planning and Zoning Info Book

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