New ordinance could force homeowners to change fence heights

By Valencia

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - North Charleston city officials are considering an ordinance that would limit home fences to four feet{}in height. The proposal has some homeowners worried.

"Before we even bought this house we wanted to make sure that we could build a fence. That was a breaking point for us even buying the house," said Stuart Cribb.

Cribb and his wife moved into their North Charleston home in August 2012. Cribb says they spent more than $3,000 to build a wooden fence around the part of their home that faces East{} Montague Avenue.

"There were beer bottles and you can see people still throw trash over the fence," said Cribb. "So we're just trying to keep it clean, and have a little bit of privacy."

Cribb says there was a laundry list of requirements he had to meet before{}being allowed to put the fence on his property.

"We had to show where we lived, and I had to draw precisely where our fence was going to be and how high it was. And the fella had to come out here and see that we were doing that and he said, 'alright, you can proceed.'"

Cribb ended up building a fence of three different heights. One wall is{}four feet, one is{}six feet, the other is{}eight feet.

If North Charleston officials pass this new fence ordinance, Cribb would have to lower his fences or take them down.

"We could just take a saw and just level it out but, the simple fact that we paid{}four grand for itthat would be quite a hassle, because we already jumped through all the loops to get it," Cribb said. "Now{}six months later, we have to tear it down."

The proposed legislation also requires that shrubbery or vegetation stand below{}three feet.

Cribb says the rules should only apply to old fences.

"I think as long as it's not falling down, as long as it's not rusty and a hazard to the public -- I think they should say that it's alright to keep it up."

The ordinance will be discussed by the city's planning commission in March.

If passed, the measure will go before council.{}{}{}

North Charleston officials were unavailable for an interview to comment on the reasoning for the legislation.