Re: fences - immediate concern
From: Gretchen Westlight (
Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2000 16:26:52 -0700 (MST)
On Sat, 12 Feb 2000, Laura Fitch wrote:

> Hi,  does any community out there (with communal land, not subdivided) have
> any policies around fencing of back yards. 

We at Cascadia Commons took a site plan and defined (with a highlighter) 
and agreed by consensus where *all* Limited Common Elements are located,
and to which unit they belong.  "Limited Common Element" means that they
are part of the common land or buildings, but the community agrees that an
individual household may have exclusive use of it, "limiting" the use for
the rest of us.  Back and side yards, outdoor stairways, and something
else I forget (bike storage?) were the main Limited Common Elements. 

Here's what my faulty memory recalls; please don't assume it's an accurate
recollection of a policy we decided on over a year ago and haven't thought
about since!

Because our site is so funky (just under 3 acres, 13 existing townhouse
duplexes, 13 planned new units, protected songbird/wetland habitat, an ash
forest we want to keep, etc.), some units do have a back yard that they
could fence (at least one dog owner chose her unit because of that; we
also thought folks with toddlers might make this choice).  Others, like my
rehab which was built in the wetlands buffer zone, do not have a back yard
that could be an LCE.  I think we stipulated that side yards could *not*
be fenced.  Everyone has a little planting strip in front of their unit
(or on the side in the case of the new second-story flats) that they can
do with what they want.  Those units with back yards can do their own
gardening back there, too, if they like. 

Sorry, I don't recall if we specified fence materials or heights.  I
*think* that a household must request permission before building the
fence, and we would decide then if their material choice was appropriate. 
I'm hoping to get a copy of our condo docs in the next week or so; please
let me know if you want to see how we worded it. 

I guess what I would recommend is a similar approach.  Don't restrict the
issue to the one person who is requesting it -- they will feel better
being out of the hot seat, and the community can make a broad
philosophical decision, while identifying specific locations, that
includes their anticipated needs and problems.  I believe that flexibility
is a virtue since change is inevitable, but not everyone agrees with me.

Gretchen Westlight
Cascadia Commons
Portland, Oregon, USA

Where more and more construction equipment is showing up each day,
although nothing official has yet begun (still waiting on the bank docs).
Still, it puts a lift in my step when I see a new backhoe or forklift!

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