Fences

Fences, Hedges & Walls on Corner Lots
Fence height shall be measured from finished grade and shall be measured from either side of the property line which affords affected property owners the most buffering from noise, light, glare, or privacy impacts.

Excerpts from the Los Gatos Town Code:

Sec. 26.10.065. Obstructions at corners of intersecting streets.
The owner or occupant of any corner lot or premises in the Town shall keep trees, hedges and growth at the corners of intersecting streets, whether between the curb line and the private lot line, or within the private lot or premises, so trimmed that the height of the same shall not exceed three (3) feet above the curb level for a distance of thirty (30) feet measured horizontally in any direction from the point of intersection of the property lines at street corners; provided, that trees whose main trunks are exposed to a height of seven and one-half (7 1/2) feet above the curb need not be so trimmed or cut.
(Code 1968, § 31-15)

For an illustration, select: Corner Sight Triangle

Sec. 29.40.030. Fences, Hedges & Walls

  1. In residential zones, fences, hedges, and walls not over 6 feet high are allowed on or within all property lines, except that no owner or occupant of any corner lot or premises in the Town shall erect or maintain upon such lot or premises any fence, hedge or wall higher than 3 feet above the curb in a traffic view area unless a permit is secured from the Town Engineer. A traffic view area is the area which is within 15 feet of a public street and within 200 feet of the right-of-way line of an intersection. Barbed wire or razor ribbon wire is prohibited in all zones.
  2. The following exceptions shall apply:
    1. Properties within historic districts or have a Landmark and Historic Preservation Overlay shall not have fences, hedges, and walls higher than 3 feet in a front yard except as provided in subsection 29.40.030(b)(2). Any fence, hedge or wall erected in a front yard shall be of open design.
    2. Gateways or entryway arbors may be higher than 6 feet in any zone including historic districts and shall be of open design but in no case shall a gateway or entryway arbor be higher than 8 feet, have a width greater than 6 feet, or have a depth greater than 4 feet. All gateways and entryway arbors shall be constructed of open design. No more than 1 gateway or entry arbor per street frontage is allowed.
    3. Boundary line fences or walls adjacent to commercial property may be 8 feet high if requested or agreed upon by a majority of the residential property owners.
    4. Properties not on a street corner, may have side yard and rear yard fences, hedges, or walls behind the front yard setback that are 8 feet high if the property owner can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Planning Director that the following conditions exists:
      1. A special privacy concern exists that merits the need for the eight-foot height and that these concerns cannot be practically addressed by additional landscaping or tree screening. Written justification shall be provide to the Planning Department which documents the special privacy concern, and the higher fence height may only be approved at the discretion of the Planning Director.
      2. A special wildlife/animal problem affects the property and merits the need for the higher eight-foot height because no practical alternatives exist to address the problem. Documented instances of wildlife grazing on gardens or domestic landscaping may be an example of such a problem. Fencing proposed for rural or hillside areas shall be of an open design that does not detract from the scenic nature or character of the surrounding area.
(Ord. No.1316, § 4.10.020, 6-7-76; Ord. No. 1493, 3-17-81; Ord. No. 1873, § I, 10-7-91; Ord. No. 2049, § I, 10-5-98; Ord. No. 2062, § I, 6-21-99)

For an illustration, select Traffic View Area

Fence Height Exceptions
In some cases, the Community Development Director may approve an exception to the fence height maximum of 6’-0”. However, in no case shall a fence height 8’-0” or above be approved. To apply for a fence height exception, submit the following:
  • Submit a site plan showing the location of the proposed fence.
  • Include the exact height and materials of the fence. Latticework is included in the height of the fence.
  • Pay the Fence Height Exceptions fee (click here for a current fee sheet).
  • Submit a letter with signatures from surrounding neighbors in support of your project. All surrounding neighbors should be aware that you are seeking approval for a fence height exception.
  • Submit the above information to the Community Development Department. In some cases, the project will be referred to the Building Division for an additional review.
  • The Director of Community Development Director must make the findings listed in Section 29.40.030(b)(4) of the Town Code in order to approve a fence height between 6’-0” and 8’-0”.