Bowie recognizes a need to preserve the open and spacious character of our neighborhoods. The current fence regulations found in Chapter 26 are intended to establish right-of-ways, reduce man-made obstructions at intersections, preserve an attractive area, and to protect the general character of the City.
The installation and maintenance of fences can be divided into 5 topics:
- Fence: Definition, Conforming/Non-Conforming
- Fence Repair
- Fence Replacement
- Installation of new fence on a regular "interior" lot
- Installation of new fence on a "corner" lot
Fence: Definition and Conforming or Non-Conforming
A fence is any structure, barrier or partition having the effect of, or erected for, the purpose of enclosing a piece of land, dividing a piece of land, separating two estates, creating an obstacle to pedestrian crossings, and consisting of a section(s) of any fencing materials. Barbed wired fences are prohibited.
Any fence legally existing prior to November 24, 1992 (per Ordinance O-19-92) and not complying with the current city code is a "non-conforming" fence. A fence erected to replace a non-conforming fence must meet with current code requirements.
A fence is an accessory structure which must be maintained in good repair, be structurally safe and sound, and be free from corrosion and graffiti, per Bowie City Code, Chapter 5. A fence may be "repaired" if the fence had been removed or destroyed due to circumstance beyond the control of the owner. Such repairs occur when a tree falls onto a fence, graffiti is painted on the fence or if a motor vehicle should jump the curb and damage the fence. Repairs to the damaged area does not require a permit, however the repairs are to be made with the same materials, of the same design and at the same location. Non-conforming fences may be repaired or the damaged portion be replaced as long as the fence has not changed in character and the repairs are performed with substantially the same materials.
If the entire fence or several sections are to be replaced with new materials or are to be replaced with different materials (wood, vinyl or metal), dissimilar design (picket, chain link, split rail, stockade, board on board) or at an other location then the fence must comply with the current regulations governing a new fence. A building permit may be required.
For more information on fences, please contact the Code Compliance Office at 301-809-3008.