FAQs - Development Services - Building & Planning
Fences in Residential Areas
Q: Can a fence be located in a yard setback?
A: Yes, fences are exempt from setback requirements, except when impairing safe sight lines at intersections, as determined by the City Engineer and subject to certain height limits.
Q: What is the maximum fence height in my side and rear yard?
A: Fences located within the side and rear yard setbacks may not exceed six feet (72 inches) in height from existing grade. Note- the maximum combined height of a fence or guardrail on top of a fill rockery or retaining wall cannot exceed 72 inches.
Q: How is the fence height measured?
A: The height of the fence is measured from the top of the fence, including posts to the existing ground level directly below the section of the fence being measured.
Q: Can the fencing height exceed the maximum height limit?
A: You may apply for a fence height deviation to exceed the 42-inch height limit up to 72 inches. To exceed the 72-inch height limit a height variance must be applied for.
Q: What is the maximum fence height in the front yard?
Fences may not exceed 3 1/2 feet (42 inches) from existing grade within 20 feet of the front yard property line. Note- the maximum combined height of a fence on top of a fill rockery or retaining wall cannot exceed 42 inches.
Q: What is the maximum fence height adjacent to a street or vehicular access easement?
A: Fences may not exceed 3 ½ feet (42 inches) from existing grade within 20 feet of any public right of way or vehicular access easement.
Q: Is there a required fence height for swimming pools?
A: Yes. Click here for details about the barriers protecting swimming pools.
Q: Do I need a building permit?
A: Fences that are six feet high or lower and comply with all fence regulations do not require building permits. Fences taller than six feet must receive a building permit.
Q: Is there anything else I should know about fences?
A: Yes, electric fences and barbed wire fences are not allowed. No fence may be located in the right-of-way of any street.
For further information, please contact Development Services Customer Service Team, 206-275-7605.
Note: This information is summarized from Title 19 of the Mercer Island City Code, "Unified Land Development Code and is provided for quick reference only. To determine exact requirements, and for other development regulations affecting a parcel or lot, Title 19 should be consulted