Warsaw Planners Review Chain-Link Fence Ordinance

Warsaw Plan Commission Monday reviewed a proposed ordinance for fences in the city.
It states that fences placed in a front yard must be decorative and may not be privacy or chain-link.
After plan commission discussion Monday, Jeremy Skinner, city planner, said he will reword the ordinance to include setbacks for any fence from the sidewalk to the fence.
A public hearing would need to be held on the fence ordinance before city council reviews the plan commission’s recommendations again.
The commission previously recommended to the Warsaw City Council that the ordinance to be reviewed by the commission.
“It came fast and I don’t know if there was time to discuss the matter,” said Mike Klondaris, city councilman and commission member. “We are not trying to tell people they can’t have a fence. I’ve driven around the city and seen chain-link fences and they’re not pretty.”
Skinner said that according to the ordinance proposal, chain-link fences would be prohibited in front yards only, but still allowed in side and back yards. Those who want chain-link fences in the front yard would need to petition to the Board of Zoning Appeals. 
Rod iron and decorative fences would still be allowed in front yards.
Skinner said he never has received a phone call about residents wanting to put chain-link fences in the front yard, but received numerous complaints about residents putting chain-link fences in front yards.
“Ninety-five percent of the people won’t put a chain-link fence in the front yard, but it’s the 5 percent who do where I get complaints,” Skinner said.
Rick Keeven, commission member, said he supports the ordinance.
“I’m very concerned about not prohibiting these chain-link fences. You have a nice neighborhood with mayhem in the front,” Keeven said. “To me this is a renaissance. People are moving into these older neighborhoods and fixing them up and I don’t want to do anything to discourage that.”
Dave Baumgartner, commission member, said there are neighborhoods like Pheasant Ridge where it is against covenants to have a chain-link fence.
Mike Klondaris, city councilman and commission member, said in his neighborhood there aren’t frontyard chain-link fences, but picket and rod iron fences.
“It gives the neighborhood some character. If you put up a chain-link fences you’re sending the wrong message that there is a security problem in the neighborhood,” Klondaris said. “I think it’s an aesthetic value to have a nicer looking fence.”
Jeff Beehler, commission member and street superintendent, said as a public servant he doesn’t support chain-link fences in the front yard.
“I feel vulnerable because I don’t know why the chain-link fence is there,” Beehler said.

(Story By The Times Union)