The City of Bowie has specific rules about fences to maintain the open and spacious feel of neighborhoods. These rules, found in Chapter 26 of the City Code, aim to keep pathways clear, maintain the City's attractiveness, and preserve its overall character.
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 that 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 circumstances beyond the control of the owner, such as when the fence is damaged by falling trees or branches, graffiti is painted on the fence, or if a motor vehicle should jump the curb and damage the fence.
Repairs to the damaged area of the fence do 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 another 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.