Paradise Valley wall, fence code revisions to be discussed Dec. 1

Paradise Valley

Paradise Valley residents could see a change coming to the town’s zoning ordinance regarding walls and fences, after a public hearing Dec. 1 at Town Hall.

The town council discussed these proposed changes during its Thursday, Nov. 17 town council meeting held at Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive.

The zoning amendment would include adding a section on combination view fences at a 20-foot setback, modifying definitions of view fences to better accommodate decorative elements and modify the definition of wall finishes.

According to the proposed ordinance, any property containing view fencing or combination view fencing taller than three feet and has a setback of 20-40 feet would not be able to have hedges over three feet in the front yard or any unpaved sections of right-of-way.

Additionally, the owner would need a hedge maintenance agreement executed and recorded in order to have hedges under three feet.

Town Attorney Andrew Miller said during the Nov. 17 meeting the penalty for not maintaining hedges under the allowed limit is a code enforcement notice followed by the town doing the maintenance and billing the property owner for time and work.

Councilman Jerry Bien-Willner said he would like to see a steeper penalty so property owners don’t abuse the existing penalty by allowing the city to become “someone’s landscaping service” by performing the labor for the property owner.

“If someone is going out there with a hedge trimmer because somebody else doesn’t want to do the work, I don’t see just sending a bill for the actual work as being sufficient,” he said during the Nov. 17 meeting.

Another proposed change includes changing the 80 percent minimum openness to 70 percent to better accommodate decorative features on view fencing, according to a town staff proposal.

“I’ve personally heard so many people undergoing renovations at their homes and running up against the rigidity of the town code that can’t certainly address every variable,” Councilwoman Maria Syms said during the Nov. 17 meeting. “I’d like to see the town be a little more reasonable in its application and reasonable that if we need to codify it, then yes and have the town be a good neighbor.”

At the end of the discussion, Vice Mayor David Sherf asked Town Planner George Burton if the passing of the proposed ordinance would change the “visual characteristic of Paradise Valley” five or 10 years down the road.

Mr. Burton responded that he does not think the changes would be too noticeable around town and Mayor Michael Collins added that this might benefit residents in the future.

“I think that there might be residents who see this as an alternative to giant oleander hedges for safety or for perception of safety on their perimeter,” Mayor Collins said during the Nov. 17 meeting.

The ordinance is up for a public hearing review on Thursday, Dec. 1.

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