STOP new RESTRICTIVE fence ordinance from IMPACTING ALL Los Gatos Hillside properties

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Town Code Amendment A-17-002 - considers amendment to Chapter 29 (Zoning Regulations) of the Town Code regarding fences, hedges, and walls; and includes new regulations and requirements for fences, hedges, and walls in the Hillside area.

The proposed rule change calls for a 30’ max. distance from a primary residence for any new (or replacement) fence greater than 42” high. 

The primary driver for this proposed change is to minimize the impact on wildlife corridors and to maintain the rural character of the hillside area.  Whether you agree or disagree with the intent of the proposal it is clear the approach used in the proposal is both arbitrary and very punitive.  Rather than focus on situations where a problem actually exists and wildlife are actually restricted from passage the author took the approach of assuming a problem exists on every parcel of property in the hillside area.  In doing so every property owner in the hillside area will be impacted regardless of parcel size and regardless of whether a problem exists or not.   

Examples of potential impact include:

-  Restricting a home owner's right to fully use the land that is within 30' of their home regardless of the size of their lot will have a negative impact on property values

-  Health concerns (such as Lyme disease) due to wildlife in close proximity of personal property and family members

-  Damage to expensive landscaping due to wildlife

-  Costly modifications / removal of existing fencing that does not meet the new ordinance at the time any repairs are needed.

 

Having the new ordinance implemented as written today will have a negative impact in how we live and how we get to use the land that we own and pay taxes on.  As a result of significant negative feedback in prior public forums the author of the proposal has made accommodations for certain unique situations such as securing livestock and the protection of vineyards, orchards or vegetable gardens that are outside of the 30’ perimeter from a primary dwelling.  These changes, however, are merely a band-aid trying to fix a fundamentally flawed document.  A re-write focusing on situations where a real problem exists is the only logical way forward.

The proposed ordinance can be found at: http://www.losgatosca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/19736



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