Council to consider fence guideline suggestions
Published 5:51 pm Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Washington’s City Council, during its meeting Monday, is scheduled to consider approving recommended changes to guidelines governing fences and walls in the city’s historic district.
The city’s Historic Preservation Commission recommends the changes be adopted. The proposed changes have been debated and reviewed for several months. The council, during a meeting in November, conducted a hearing on proposed changes to the guidelines, and then decided to send the proposed changes back to the commission for additional review. The proposed changes regarding fences and walls have elicited support and opposition.
Although several people urged the council to approve the recommended changes, the council voiced concerns with the suggested modifications, including worries they might be too restrictive. Some council members applied the words “over-controlling” and “handicaps” to the proposed changes. They had concerns with the proposed changes requiring fences to be painted a specific color or specific heights.
Don Stroud, president of the Washington Area Historic Foundation, noted the proposed changes do not outlaw privacy fences altogether.
In recent months, residents and potential homebuyers of properties in the historic district voiced their concerns regarding stronger regulations to help ensure the visual appeal of their properties. In April, John Rodman, director of community and cultural resources for the city, appointed Congleton as the chairwoman of the new fence committee.
The committee explored several options for fences. Committee recommendations included: streetscape fences must be no taller than 4 feet high and of an open design, with at least a 1-inch gap between pickets; privacy fences in back or side yards must be no taller than 5 feet; and several other design/construction guidelines. Among the examples of appropriate fences are brick latticework, wrought iron, stone or rock, shadow box and picket fences.
The proposed changes may be reviewed by looking at a copy of the council’s agenda for its meeting Monday. The proposed changes begin on page 35 of the tentative agenda.
The council meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Council Chambers in the Municipal Building, 102 E. Second St. To view the council’s agenda for a specific meeting, visit the city’s website at www.washingtonnc.gov, click “Government” then “City Council” heading, then click “Meeting Agendas” on the menu to the right. Then click on the date for the appropriate agenda.