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Planners Flip-Flop, Reject New Fence Law

November 13, 1986|MARTHA L. WILLMAN | Times Staff Writer

Perplexed by a series of unresolved questions, the Glendale Planning Commission this week reversed its earlier vote and recommended that a proposed new ordinance governing front-yard fences be denied.

The city has wrestled for years over what to do with a 64-year-old law that, in general, prohibits all walls and fences within 25 feet of front property lines. The law has been widely ignored for generations and hundreds of illegal fences exist throughout Glendale.

After four months of study, the Planning Commission in September recommended by a 3-2 vote that the city adopt an ordinance permitting construction of some types of fences and walls. The Glendale City Council accepted the recommendation and sent the issue back to the commission for public hearing.

Then, after the public hearing, the commission voted 3 to 2 against the proposed ordinance. Several commissioners said they believe that the city needs an ordinance legalizing some types of fences, but that the proposed ordinance is not adequate.

Their recommendation will be brought back before the City Council Nov. 25 when another public hearing will be held.

"There are too many questions that commissioners felt needed to be answered," said commission chairman Lloyd Boucher, explaining the vote reversal. Commissioner Gary Tobian changed his original position, saying he wants wood fences to be permitted. The proposed rules would have outlawed the use of wood, such as in picket fences.

The proposed ordinance also did not deal with what to do about the hundreds of existing illegal fences that were built without a zoning variance, or with how the ordinance would be enforced. Proposed rules were also vague on the types of walls and fences that might be suited to hillside areas but would be unacceptable in flat residential areas with expansive front lawns.

Boucher said he hopes City Council will return the proposal to the commission--for more study.

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