After about six months of work, the city of Tyler has come up with new regulations related to front-yard fences.

Tyler residents can build a front-yard fence without having to get a permit and those who already have a fence can keep their fence.

City council members approved an amendment that allows residents to build their front-yard fences on residentially zoned properties without needing special use permit approval.

However, those fences must meet certain standards.

  • Front-yard fences are now required to be at least 50 percent open. They cannot be over four feet in height. The fence must be constructed out of wood, brick, wrought iron, stone or masonry materials.
  • Driveway gates for individual properties in residentially zoned districts will be prohibited within the front yard setback. This would limit the “fortress style” arrangement in the front yard and improve emergency service response times.

In late May, the Tyler City Council put a six-month moratorium on any new front-yard fence applications while staff worked out the details to improve the front-yard fence ordinance.

The city planned to consider fencing ordinances from other cities, look for best practices and poll neighborhood groups on the issue before coming up with a new ordinance for the council’s consideration.

City planners gave residents an opportunity to voice their opinions on the matter through a staff-created survey that compared and contrasted different front-yard fences including size, material and location.

Over 300 people responded to the survey. Respondents agreed that open fences made of quality material were preferred over solid screens and chain-link material.

Since 2013, residents have been required to get a special-use permit to have a fence of any kind in the front yard. That code took on the fences on a case-by-case basis, but chain-link fences have not been approved for front yards.

The goal at the time was to limit chain-link fences, which can cause blight to neighborhoods, said Heather Nick, managing director of planning and economic development.

Any chain link fences installed prior to 2013 are grandfathered.