In Watchung, Zoning permits are required for most fence projects. To learn what types of fences are allowed, you need to become familiar with the fence codes and ordinances (viewable below) and or contact the zoning department and tell them the type, style and location of the fence. To acquire approval, provide a description of the proposed work and a plot plan (survey) indicating the location of proposed fence construction on your property. Fill out and send the fence permit application (printable below) to the Zoning Office.
We have been a leading fence contractor in Watchung and through out Somerset County since the 1960’s. Below you will see pictures of fence installations that we have completed in the Borough.
ZONING PERMIT APPLICATION
Information necessary to obtain a Zoning Permit:
A description of proposed work. A plot plan (survey) indicating the location of proposed construction on your property, and conformity to the applicable bulk requirements is required to obtain a zoning permit. Zoning permits are required for most home improvement projects, including new structures, additions, decks, swimming pools, accessory structures including sheds, generators, signs and fences, changes of use, etc.
The applicable zoning permit application must be filled out. The first column, depicts what is required in the particular zone. The second column reflects what currently exists based upon the survey, and the third column shows proposed changes to the existing. All columns must be completed.
There is a $35.00 fee for zoning applications, payable to the Borough of Watchung.
Once zoning approval is granted, you must apply to and obtain approvals from the Engineering Department for either a Land Disturbance permit, an exemption, or a letter stating that you don’t need anything from Engineering, depending on the project. If the project involves only interior work, engineering approval is not required.
WATCHUNG FENCE ORDINANCE
28-502. FENCES AND WALLS
Fences and walls may be erected on a lot, subject to the following provisions:
A. General Requirements.
1. In a residential district, a fence or wall may be erected to a total height of four (4) feet above the ground, except that the supporting post may extend to a height of four and one-half (4 1/2) feet above the ground. However:
(a) Fences shall be no more than fifty (50%) percent solid;
(b) An estate fence may be erected to a height of six (6) feet above the ground, except that the supporting post may extend to a height of six and one-half (6 1/2) feet above the ground.
2. Along boundaries of residential and nonresidential districts, a fence or wall may be erected to a height of six and one-half (6 1/2) feet above the ground, except that the supporting post may extend to a height of seven (7) feet above the ground, to screen nonresidential activities from the view of abutting residences. Fences in this instance may exceed the restrictions contained in Section 28-502A.
3. Except where specifically prohibited under the terms of any other applicable ordinance or regulation of the Borough, nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit the use of hedges, trees or other planting anywhere on a lot.
4. Restrictions herein contained shall not be applied so as to prohibit the erection of a wall for the purpose of retaining earth or otherwise contouring or terracing the property.
B. Construction within Road Right-of-Way Prohibited. No private fence, wall or structure shall be erected within a public right-of-way.
C. Construction Appearance and Materials. All fences shall be situated on a lot in such a manner that the finished side of the fence shall face adjacent properties. All fences shall be uniform and symmetrical in appearance, shall have posts or columns separated by identical distances, except for deviations required by construction factors, and shall consist of materials conforming to a definite pattern unless waived in whole or in part by the Construction Official. No fence shall be erected of barbed wire, razor wire, topped with metal spikes or other sharp objects, nor constructed of any material or in any manner which may be dangerous to persons or animals, except barbed wire shall be permitted for qualified (under the State Farmland Assessment Act) farms.
D. Location within Sight Triangle. No fence, hedges, trees or other plantings shall be located within a required clear sight triangle.
E. Electrically Charged Fences Permitted. Electrically charged fences are permitted provided that the fence does not exceed six (6) feet in height, is attached to poles that do not exceed six and one-half (6 1/2) feet in height and is charged with a voltage that does not exceed one thousand (1,000) volts. Said fences are to be stained or painted dark brown, dark green or black to blend with landscaping. Poles, insulators and any attachments shall be painted the same color. Wires are not included in the painting requirement. No fence shall be erected on the front of the property, nor shall the fence encompass the entire property.
F. Mesh Deer Fences Permitted. Deer fences which are nonmetallic in appearance are permitted provided they do not exceed eight (8) feet in height above the ground, except that the supporting post may extend to a height of eight and one-half (8 1/2) feet above the ground. Deer fences and poles are to be dark brown, dark green or black to blend with the landscaping.
Deer fences shall be erected from the front edge of the house and may extend around the house to encompass the backyard. No deer fence shall be erected in the front of the property, nor shall the deer fence encompass the entire property, unless the deer fence is shielded from view from adjoining properties and the street by trees, shrubs and other natural conditions. In the case of a corner lot, this restriction only applies to that yard which the property owner designates as the primary front yard.
G.Temporary/Construction Fences. A temporary/construction fence may be erected for the duration of a construction project if required by the Borough or owner for safety reasons. The property owner must obtain a permit for the erection of a temporary construction fence and the temporary construction fence shall be removed upon completion of the construction.
H. Construction within Property Boundary Lines. All fences shall be constructed within property boundary lines.
I. Construction Enclosing and/or Crossing an Easement Prohibited. No fence or wall shall be constructed so as to enclose or cross a Borough easement or an easement in which there are public rights. Fences shall not be built within three (3) feet of any such easement.
J. Maintenance. All fences shall be maintained in a safe, sound and upright condition.
K.Existing Fences. The provisions of this Article shall apply to all fences hereafter constructed. Fences currently existing which violate any provision set forth herein shall not be reconstructed, repaired or replaced to an extent exceeding twenty percent (20%) thereof without the total fence being brought into conformity with the provisions hereof.
L. Swimming Pools.
1. Fences that meet the requirements of Section 28-502 and the minimum requirements for swimming pool fences under the Building Official and Code Administrators (“BOCA”) International, Inc., as amended by the State of New Jersey Uniform Construction Code (“UCC”) may be used.
2. Additionally, fences around a swimming pool are allowed to a maximum height of six (6) feet provided that the following conditions are met:
a. Fences around a swimming pool shall only be permitted in the rear yards and side yards of a lot, subject to compliance with the setback limitations applicable to principal structures.
b. The rear of the principal permitted structure may serve as part of the fence around a swimming pool.
c. Fences around a swimming pool must not be more than twenty-five (25) feet from the water’s edge.
d. Fences around a swimming pool shall not be more than fifty percent (50%) solid.
M. Buffer Zones, Conservation Easement Areas and Conservation Areas. No fence shall be permitted in any area designated as a buffer zone, conservation easement or conservation area by any other part of the Code of the Borough of Watchung including, but not limited to, Sections 28-413E1 and 28-414E1.
N. Permits. In order to ensure compliance with the provisions of this Article, before any fence or wall is erected, a zoning permit and building permit, if required, must be obtained from the Building Construction Official and Zoning Official of the Borough. The request for permits shall be accompanied by a survey or plan, to show height and location of the proposed fence or wall in relation to all other structures or buildings and in relation to all streets, lot property lines and yards, and showing type and design of fencing materials. Any plan that includes construction within an easement shall be approved by the Borough Engineer prior to the issuance of the required permit. The zoning permit or building permit, if required, is conditioned upon the as-built conditions meeting the terms and conditions of the permit and this Article.
O. A chain-link fence up to a height of ten (10) feet from the ground may be erected around a sports court.
(Ord. No. OR:07/21 §§ 2–8; Ord. No. OR:09/01 § 28-502)
Watchung Municipal Building
15 Mountain Boulevard
Watchung, NJ 07069
Zoning Office: (908) 756-6093