Residential Fence Rules and Codes for Berwyn, IL
Berwyn is a western suburb of Chicago, located just to the west of Cicero. Its population is roughly 57,000, with a diverse population and a high percentage of Hispanic residents, much like Cicero, its neighbor. With a moderate average family income, it is a city of residential neighborhoods, full of homes of midwestern design styles. The city’s rules for fencing in its neighborhoods are designed in keeping with its family orientation. A prohibition against front yard fences and most side yard fences is typical of cities that seek to create good relationships and communication between neighbors.
General Requirements for Residential Fences
Since many homeowners in the city choose to build their own fences, Berwyn makes it relatively easy for individuals to obtain their own building permits for those projects. It does, however require that the owner be present at all times when work is being done. That ordinance is designed to ensure that unlicensed contractors are not working on residential projects in the city, which requires all contractors be licensed and bonded. Before a complete installation, the information below can be used as a guide to selecting your materials and designing the fence to be within the regulations.
- Building Permit Required? – A building permit is required for all fences built in Berwyn. Homeowners may do their own work, but must be at the property anytime work is being done. Contractors must be licensed in the city of Berwyn. Permit fees vary.
- Permit Documentation Needed – Plans to scale of the project, specifications of materials and construction methods are required. The Building Director may specify other requirements.
- Fence Materials Allowed – All usual materials are allowed, including wood, chain link, metal ornamental, and PVC vinyl fencing products.
- Maximum Height Limits – In general, fences must be no higher than 5′, but fences up to 6′ tall are allowed on rear property lines and adjacent to commercial or industrial sites.
- Property Line Issues – All fencing must be installed within the owner’s property lines, with the finished side facing toward the adjacent property or public areas.
- Inspections Needed – An inspection is required on completion of the project.
- Building Authority Contact – 708-788-2660 (voice)
- Building Department Website
Specific Ordinances and Restrictions
- Front Yard Fences – Front yard fences are prohibited in Berwyn, except when the home is located on the rear half of the lot. In such cases, the fence must be at least 15′ from the front property line and behind the front of buildings on adjacent properties.
- Side Yard Fences – These are not allowed, unless the side yard adjacent to the principal building is wider than 20% of the lot’s width.
- Back Yard Fences – These cannot exceed 5′ in height, but an additional one-foot of open trellis may be added, not to exceed 6′ in total. Fences on rear lot lines can be up to 6′ high. A 6′ limit also applies to solid rear yard fences adjacent to commercial or industrial properties.
- Other Restrictions
- No residential fence can have any sharp, dangerous or impaling tops.
- Back-to-back fences along the same lot line are not allowed.
- Posts must be on the owner’s side of the fence and must have a belowground depth at least half the height of the fence and be imbedded in concrete to the bottom of the post.
- Stone, brick or other masonry fences must be built on a concrete footing four feet deep.
- Homeowner’s Association Issues – On properties subject to a homeowner’s or other association rules, those rules may stricter than city rules.
- Gates and Access Rules – Gates must be within the lot lines, and made of materials compatible with the fence materials. Masonry fences must have wooden or ornamental metal gates.
- Fence Prohibitions
- No barbed wire, razor wire, or sharp pointed tops are allowed.
- No corrugated metal, plastic, barbed wire or chicken wire may be used as a construction material. Chain link mesh may have inserted slats.
- No masonry fences adjacent to commercial or industrial properties.
- Landscaping plants are subject to the same height restrictions as fences, and may not be taller than the fence.
Commercial Fence Codes
- Maximum Height Information – Open chain link fences up to 6′ high can be installed around rear yards of commercial and industrial properties. Other installations must meet height limitations described above.
- Commercial Fence Setbacks – For corner lots in commercial or industrial districts, any fence must be set back at least 3′ from the property line and must have plantings of hedges no more than 3′ high along any public sidewalk.
Fence Installation Codes in Berwyn, IL
Before taking on a money-saving fence-building project yourself, it’s best to evaluate your skills, tools and available time carefully. Such an installation requires some hard work digging postholes and mixing concrete. These projects also require better than average skills in several areas. Most installations also need more than one person on the job, and take considerable time to complete. Experienced professional contractors work efficiently and accurately. They are familiar with all of the equipment and skills required to create a beautiful, straight, strong fence that adds enduring value to any home. Still, building a fence is a common DIY project for handy homeowners. If you’re up for the job, you can save money by doing it yourself.