Bad fences, bad neighbors? It's a code violation that can cost you

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – If good fences make good neighbors, what do bad fences make?
Trouble, if you live in the city of Tupelo.
Leaning, rotted, pealing, broken or otherwise ill-maintained fences can cost property owners up to $1,000 in fines, according to the city’s development code.
It’s a little-known problem that garners scant complaints, but it’s still a target of the municipality’s code-violation crackdown, in effect throughout the summer.
“We don’t have too many fence problems in town,” said Debra Byrd, a code officer in the Development Services Department. “But we want to keep them looking good, especially in a residential zone.”
The code section – 9.6.16 – warns against fences that constitute a “hazard, blight or a condition of disrepair” affecting 5 percent or more of the total fence. One rotted or missing slat out of a 100-slat fence won’t get you in trouble, but five or more might.
Like most violations, the city will issue warnings before writing citations and will work with any property owner who takes steps to address the problem.
For those erecting new fences, the city also has a few rules: Don’t put them on municipal rights of way, don’t put them in your neighbors’ yard, and unless they’re small, decorative fences, don’t put them between the front of your house and the street.
City Planner Pat Falkner said he’s aware of numerous non-decorative, front-yard fences currently violating the code. But the city assumes those were installed years ago and won’t make owners remove them.
“If we have knowledge of when one goes up, though, we could cite them,” Falkner said.

Code Enforcement: Tupelo
THIS IS PART 7 in a series of storied about common Tupelo code violations heavily targeted this summer by the city. The first stories
were about house numbers, yard parking, signs and banners, junk vehicles, outdoor storagr and lot mowing. Other stories will be:

June 18: Trash containers

June 25: Landscape maintenance

July 2: Commercial codes

TO ASK a question or report code violations, call the Tupelo Development Services Department at (662) 841-6510 and ask to speak to the Code Enforcement Division.

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