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Town Talk: You ask, we answer

“What are the rules for putting up a fence in the city of New Ulm, and do I need a permit?”

You do not need a permit for a fence that is located entirely outside of the required front, side or rear yard setback area of your property, or if the fence is less than 30″ in height and less than 20′ in length, if located within the setback area.

If your fence requires a permit, you need to fill out a fence permit application form, submit a site plan of where the fence is located on the property, including the location of property lines, the material the fence is going to be built of, and the height of the fence. There are different height limitations depending on where the fence is placed in the property, and the land owner is responsible for locating the property line. The city does not provide surveying services or locate private property lines. The fence may be placed on the property line, if the property line location is known. You may want to talk to your neighbor about your fence if this is your plan. The cost of a fence permit is currently $40.

A fence may not be closer than 12” to a public sidewalk. Fences in the front yard can only be 48″ in height, but if located in the sight line triangle on a corner lot, then the fence can only be 24″ in height. This sight line triangle rule also applies to the placement of a fence that is located by a driveway or alley.

If a fence is 50% or more transparent, the fence is not subject to the sight line triangle. What is 50% or more transparency? If you were to construct a picket type fence, and if the picket slat is 3” wide, then you would need a 3″ or larger space between pickets to qualify.

Fences in the back or side yard can be up to 78” high. This also comes with an exception. If your neighbor’s house is within 3′ of your fence, then the fence can only be 48″ high for the length of the neighbor’s house.

You can find additional information on the city’s website, www.newulmmn.gov, click on City Departments, click on building safety, click informational brochures, then click on residential fences facts & information. You can also go to the ordinance’s section 9.14, subdivision 6 or you can call 359-8245 or stop by the building safety department at city hall.

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Editor’s Note: The City of New Ulm presents a weekly column highlighting activities in different departments in the city government. Once a month the city will answer questions from readers. Questions on New Ulm city issues can be sent to comments@ci.new-ulm.mn.us.

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