Fences and Gates

Most fences under 6 feet in height do not require a permit from the Planning & Building Department. Contact the Building Division of the Planning & Building Department at 707.445.7245 to confirm what permits, if any, are needed for your fence.

In addition, if you are building a fence or a gate near a County maintained road please contact the Encroachment Permit Office of the Public Works Land Use Division at 707.445.7205 to find out if any restrictions apply to your fence or gate.

Road Right of Way:  The County has the authority to regulate fences, gates and other encroachments on County roads pursuant to County Code Section 411-1 and Streets and Highways Code Sections 1480 et seq. 

Fences must be constructed outside of the public right of way for the County road. Public Works staff can help you identify where the public road right of way line is so that you can build your fence outside of the right of way. 

Gates need to be setback sufficiently from the County road so that when a vehicle that is stopped to open or close the gate it is not blocking the County road (including travel lanes, parking lanes, bike lanes, sidewalks, etc...). Gates must be installed so that if the gate is left open, it is not encroaching into the right of way of the County road. As a general rule of thumb, constructing a vehicular gate setback at least 25 feet from the road and having the gate open away from the road solves this problem. Also, unless setback from the right of way line, pedestrian gates need to be constructed to open away from the road so that if the gate is left open it is not blocking the sidewalk.

Visibility Triangle:  County Code Section 341-1 et seq. regulates fences on private property adjacent to County Roads. This code requires that fences be setback at intersections and at driveways.  In addition, the location of your neighbors driveway may affect the fencing on your property.  Within the visibility triangle area vegetation must also trimmed and maintained so as not to obstruct visibility as defined in County Code. 

In addition, if your property is on the inside of a curve on a County Road, you may need to set your fence farther back so that you can see approaching traffic and approaching traffic can see you.

Certain types of fence materials may be allowed by Public Works within the visibility triangle area if such fencing does not obstruct visibility.  Chain link fencing with 2" posts and 2" mesh (without privacy slats) can be an alternative if a tall fence is necessary.  

Public Works wants to assist you in making sure your fence is built outside of the public road right of way and outside of the visibility triangle area. Call before you build 707.445.7205. Public Works staff can meet you on-site at no cost to you.