Build a Residential Fence

The height and location of fences are regulated by the zoning code. Additionally, the height of your fence and your building materials determine if you need a building permit. Even if a building permit is not required, fences must conform to the regulations in the zoning code.

Fence heights

Generally, residential fences may be built to a maximum height:

  • 8 feet along interior (not abutting a street) rear and side property lines

  • 6 feet along rear and side property lines that abut a street

  • 4 feet with the top 18 inches of the fence is see-through when the fence is located within 10 feet of the front property line abutting the street.

  • 4 feet when the fence is located within 10 to 20 feet of the front property line abutting the street.

Fence height is measured from the finished grade upon which the fence is constructed to the top of the fence except fences along the public right-of-way. The height of fences along the public right-of-way are measured as follows:

  • From the sidewalk to the top of the fence
  • From the curb to the top of the fence if no sidewalk exists
  • From the finished shoulder grade of the right-of-way to the top of the fence if no curb exists
Drawing showing fence heights related to yard types and street locations.

Fence materials

Fences must be constructed of material specifically designed and manufactured for fencing purposes. They cannot contain any material which will do bodily harm, such as electric or barbed wire, upturned barbed selvage, broken glass, spikes, or any other hazardous or dangerous materials. 

Chicken wire may be used only in a Residential Agriculture (RA) zone for livestock.

Fence building process

Once you have decided on the fence height and materials, you have the information you need to begin.

Get a building permit

You will need a building permit if your fence height and material choice meet one of the following conditions:

  • Height is over 7 feet tall
  • Fence material is chain link and height is over 8 feet tall

Submit a residential building application. Choose “Alteration/Other” as the type of work.

Prepare your property

Find your property lines: Be sure you know exactly where your property lines are before building a fence. A licensed surveyor can locate your property lines and prepare a topographic survey of your property, showing the property boundaries in relation to the street and existing buildings.

Check your vision clearance areas: Vision clearance is required at street, alley, and driveway corners. Fence construction is limited in vision clearance areas. You can find diagrams of vision clearance areas in SRC Chapter 805.

Call before you dig: Call the Oregon Utility Notification Center two business days before digging. The phone number is 811 or you can find them online.

Call for inspection

If your fence required a building permit, request an inspection to complete the permit process.

Two men building fence.

Contact us

Planning DivisionCommunity Development Department
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
555 Liberty ST SE RM 305
Salem OR 97301
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