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Paonia approves new rules, fee for fences

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Photo by Tamie Meck Paonia trustees Bill Bear and Mary Bachran listen to a presentation at the Jan. 22 town board meeting in the community room at Town Hall. As part of recent upgrades to Town Hall, the community room has a fresh coat of paint and new car

Paonia residents considering a nice tall fence or wall in their front yard will now need to pay a fee and have their plans reviewed by the town building inspector.

At the Jan. 22 board meeting, town trustees adopted on first reading an ordinance amending town code the section regulating fences. Under the new ordinance, prior to installing a new fence, the property owner must file for a fence review by the building official and pay a review fee, currently set at $50.

The fee was approved under a revised fee schedule also approved by trustees at the meeting. That schedule also increases dog registration tags from $3 to $5, adds a report of change in liquor licensing fee of $75, increases print copies of Town Code from $50 to $75, and increases the building permit fee from "$35 + Formula" to "$70 + Formula."

In 2017, the board approved an amendment to Town Code that moved the fence ordinance and other parts of the code from the zoning section of code into the building code. In doing so, said town administrator Ken Knight, the board can more easily amend the fencing code.

Building a fence does not require a permit, said Knight. But because the Building Code chapter is subject to applicable sections of the IBC, "The building official has to do this review."

The ordinance lowers maximum fencing height on the front edge of the property and on corner lots from 42 inches to 36 inches. Doing so, said Knight, ensures a "more appropriate" and clear line of sight for both vehicles and pedestrians, including at alleyways.

Rear-yard fencing, hedges and walls are still limited to six feet in height, and all other parts of the code remain unchanged.

Current fence code ensures that fences don't extend across property line without permission from adjoining property owners, don't encroach on public rights of way, forbids electric or barbed-wire fencing materials, and limits hedge and wall height.

The town doesn't want to design fences, said Knight in recommending approval of the changes. "We need to be able to charge a reasonable fee for this fence review to make sure that those fences are going up in accordance to your code."

The fence ordinance goes into effect 30 days from the date of publication. The fee schedule goes into effect immediately. All fines and fees in the fee schedule related to Paonia Police Department and law enforcement have been removed from the fee schedule, said Knight. Because staff does not believe police fines belong on the fee schedule, they will be moved to a separate resolution for the board to consider in the near future.

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