General Fencing

City of Rockford Zoning Ordinance Article 55 details fencing requirements. Because of the variety of fencing issues, the information contained on this page is to be used only as a guideline. Please inquire with the City of Rockford's Planning and Zoning Division at 779-348-7163 for more in-depth answers.

Zoning ordinance 55-001-B states that all fences require a permit from the Construction and Development Division that can be obtained here. This includes a detailed fence plan with construction and elevation details drawn to scale that must be submitted with the fence permit application to the Zoning Officer. All fence permits shall be valid for 120 days (four months) from the date of approval by Zoning staff. If any fence permit expires prior to the completion of the construction of the fence, then another fence permit must be obtained along with a new fee.

Any fence erected prior to obtaining a fence permit shall be removed if it is in violation of this ordinance. If the fence meets all the restrictions of this ordinance, it may remain only if a fence permit is obtained within 30 days after notice from the City at double the scheduled permit fee. All fences shall be installed with the finished side facing the adjacent property or public right-of-way, and fence posts must be located on the inside of the fence facing the property on which the fence is located, unless the fence is designed and constructed to look the same on both sides of the fence.

Approved fencing material includes, but is not limited to, masonry block, wood, trex (composite) board, chain link/metal (no less than 11 gauge thickness), wrought iron, aluminum, PVC, concrete or steel deck. Barbed wire fence, spiked railing or any guard or barricade with barbed wire or sharp\pointed devices that are liable to injure residents are not allowed in any residential or commercial zoning district. Electric fencing is not allowed within the City

Exceptions do apply for various property conditions such as corner lots, arterial streets and alleys, which would require approval of a Zoning Variance by City Council.

Fences measuring a maximum of 4 feet in height, as measured from existing grade, are permitted in the front yard up to the property line. However, any fence located within a front yard must be a decorative fence-wood, masonry, wrought iron but not chain link. Fences measuring a maximum of 6 feet in height, as measured from the existing grade, are permitted up to the property line in a side or rear yard areas.

Dumpster Enclosures

All dumpsters used to service multi-unit residential buildings, commercial, and industrial uses must be screened on all sides by approved fencing material to create a permanent sight obstructing fence with a minimum height of 6 feet. One side of the storage area may be furnished with an opaque, lockable gate. No fencing is required when the applicant can demonstrate to the Zoning Officer that all trash facilities will be enclosed within a principal building or within an accessory structure such as a garage.

Where feasible, all dumpsters and trash facilities must be located behind a building and setback so refuse trucks are completely off the public right-of-way when servicing the facility. Construction and repair of dumpster enclosures require permitting, which can be applied for on the Permits page. Some properties located in the commercial C4 zoning district may qualify for a waiver that can be issued by the Planning and Zoning Division. A waiver request can be obtained on the Permits page.