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As we know, the government has many restrictions on what citizens can and cannot do. This can be annoying, but without rules, there would be chaos.

But many people are surprised to find that the government even has something to say about fences. Depending on where you live, local rules will vary. But since we live in the great state of Texas, we’re going to use Dallas as a case study this week. Imagine you reside in this Texas metropolis and you need to build a new fence. How would you proceed?

Do you need a permit?

The first question, of course, is whether you have to do anything. Maybe not. In Dallas, you’ll need a permit if you want to build a fence or wall more than four feet tall in a required front yard setback. The front setback line is the minimum distance between where you want to build your fence and the edge of your property. The Dallas City Attorney website explains, “The front yard setback is measured from the front lot line of the building site or the required right-of-way as determined by the thoroughfare plan for all thoroughfares, whichever creates the greater setback. On minor streets, the front yard setback is measured from the front lot line of the building site or the existing right-of-way, whichever creates the greater setback.”

You’ll also need a permit if you want to build a fence or wall higher than six feet tall anywhere on your private property.

Ready for a new fence

How do you get a fence permit?

If you’re building a fence in Dallas, you can get the paperwork online. Print it, fill it out and take it in person to the Building Inspection Division of the Oak Cliff Municipal Center. They can usually issue your fence permit while you wait. However, if you’re building in a historic district, planned development district or conservation district, expect to wait longer. And if you’re planning something truly monstrous—say, a 12 foot stone wall surrounded by a moat of gators—well, you might be waiting a really, really long time. 

And bring a form of payment. Permit cost is based on the value of the work. The minimum fee is a hundred bucks.

Respect the visibility

Visibility triangles are those places at intersections where you look across somebody’s property to be sure the road is clear before you pull out. This means a high fence is not allowed. Or even a medium fence. As Dallas City Hall puts it, “A fence must not be placed within a visibility triangle at street, alley or driveway intersections if the fence is higher than two and a half (2 1/2 ) feet measured from the top of the adjacent street curb.”

The bottom line

So, are you excited to get in the car and drive your application down to the Building Inspection Division? Your friends at Buzz have been through this many times before. We’re happy to advise you and help you assemble needed permits. Call us today. Together we’ll conquer the rules, and you’ll soon have that beautiful new fence protecting your home.

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