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San Gabriel Valley Digest

Monterey Park : Ban on Wire Fences

December 01, 1988

Once, local historians say, chicken wire and barbed wire were commonly used in this western San Gabriel Valley community, where chicken ranches and small farms flourished in the early 20th Century. Now, in a move to update the city's fencing standards, the City Council declared this week that by 1990 all chicken-wire and barbed-wire fences must be removed from residences and businesses.

It's not that there is much of a problem, according to city planner M. Margo Wheeler, who said she knows of only a few businesses and not a single residence with a barbed-wire fence.

But, she said, the city's fencing law needs an overhaul. As part of the revisions, city officials are still studying what to do about the estimated 500 chain-link fences around front yards.

A 1976 law, virtually ignored by city officials until this fall, made chicken-wire and barbed-wire fences illegal and also prohibited chain-link fences in front yards. But the law set no deadline for removing any existing fences.

Now city officials are debating what to do about the existing chain-link fences, including those erected since the 1976 law was enacted. Some upset homeowners already have complained that it would be unfair to make them replace chain-link fences around their front yards. The one point of consensus, however, is that barbed wire and chicken wire have to go.

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