Existing fences may remain in place, provided they are six feet or less in height, structurally sound, pose no danger to pedestrians, and do not obstruct emergency vehicles or driver visibility. The previous code limited fences to three feet in front yards and street-facing side yards, a code city staff said was a relic of pre-development Burbank.
"When something new comes along, many people think the worst," said Greg Herrmann, assistant community development director for the city. "I don't think it's going to be as big a deal as many people thought it would be."
As required by municipal law, city inspectors must still investigate the 571 complaints filed against Burbank homeowners. Inspectors are adding several fence inspections per day to their usual work load, to determine if the properties on the list are truly inconsistent with the new code, Herrmann said.
Quite a few properties were consistent with the old fence codes, Herrmann said. Fences not meeting the old codes will likely be permitted under the new standards, he added.
"It is likely two-thirds [of the complaints] are going to be eliminated straight off because of the changes," he said.
Although residents can breathe a sigh of relief that the ordinance is unlikely to affect their properties, some residents still want to know who filed the individual complaints against homeowners. Two homeowners filed all 571 complaints in retaliation for complaints made against their own property, Community Development Director Sue Georgino said.
Those complaints obligated the city to take up fence standards in the first place, sparking almost instant community upheaval.