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Fence Regulations in the City of Milwaukee

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Fence Regulations, and Permit Applications for Milwaukee
Drawing showing where you can put a fence on your property in Milwaukee

Quick Reference Guide – How Tall Can My Fence be in Milwaukee?

City of Milwaukee Fence Height Regulations

Yard Location Allowed Fence Height
Front Yard 4 feet
(6 feet for ornamental fence with 50% open construction)
Side Yard 4 feet
(6 feet if upper 2 feet has 50% open construction)
Rear Yard 6 feet
Intersection of Street and Driveway/Alley 3 feet

Note: The above table provides a summary of fence height regulations in different parts of the yard. Please refer to the City of Milwaukee’s official documentation for detailed regulations and any additional requirements.

City of Milwaukee Fence Permit Application Download

City of Milwaukee Fence Permit: How-To

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Fence Permits in Milwaukee: Application, Regulations, and Step-by-Step Guide

Welcome to our guide on fence permits in Milwaukee. If you’re planning to install a fence on your property, it’s essential to understand the permit requirements and regulations set by the City of Milwaukee. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of obtaining a fence permit, ensuring a smooth and compliant installation. Let’s dive in!

Understanding Fence Permits in Milwaukee

Before beginning any fence installation project in Milwaukee, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the local permit requirements. The City of Milwaukee has specific regulations in place to ensure the safety, aesthetics, and harmony of neighborhoods.

Application Process

To obtain a fence permit, you’ll need to go through the application process. Begin by visiting the City of Milwaukee’s Department of Neighborhood Services or their designated office responsible for permit issuance. Fill out the fence permit application form with accurate and detailed information about your proposed fence installation. Be prepared to provide necessary documentation, such as property surveys, fence design specifications, and neighbor consent if applicable.

Regulations and Guidelines

The City of Milwaukee has established regulations and guidelines regarding fence height, materials, location, and other important factors. These regulations help maintain neighborhood aesthetics, property boundaries, and ensure public safety. Familiarize yourself with these regulations before submitting your permit application to avoid any complications or delays.

Step-by-Step Guide to Obtaining a Fence Permit

  1. Research Requirements: Begin by researching the specific fence permit requirements for Milwaukee. Consult the city’s zoning ordinances or contact the Department of Neighborhood Services for detailed information.
  2. Gather Documentation: Collect the necessary documentation, including property surveys, fence design specifications, and any required neighbor consent or additional permits. Having these documents ready will streamline the application process.
  3. Visit the Department of Neighborhood Services: Visit the Department of Neighborhood Services office or the designated permit issuance office. Confirm their office hours and any specific requirements beforehand.
  4. Complete the Application: Fill out the fence permit application form provided by the Department of Neighborhood Services. Ensure all information is accurate and complete.
  5. Pay the Fees: Pay the required permit fees at the time of application submission. The fee amount may vary depending on the size and scope of your fence installation project.
  6. Review and Approval: Once submitted, your application will undergo review by the Department of Neighborhood Services. They will verify compliance with local regulations and may conduct a site inspection if necessary.
  7. Permit Issuance: Upon approval, you will receive the fence permit from the Department of Neighborhood Services. The permit will outline any specific conditions or requirements to follow during the installation process.
  8. Fence Installation: With your approved permit in hand, proceed with the installation of your fence. Ensure compliance with the approved specifications, safety guidelines, and building codes set by the City of Milwaukee.

Obtaining a fence permit in Milwaukee is an essential step in ensuring a compliant and successful fence installation. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this comprehensive resource, you’ll navigate the permit application process with ease. Remember to familiarize yourself with the local regulations and guidelines to maintain neighborhood aesthetics and uphold safety standards. Start your fence installation project on the right foot by obtaining a fence permit from the City of Milwaukee today.


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Sight Triangle - Milwaukee Fence Regulations

City of Milwaukee Fence Requirements

To ensure a positive impact on properties and neighborhoods, the City of Milwaukee regulates fences. These regulations establish standards for fence materials, construction, heights, and placement on the property.

Fence Location:

You may build a fence up to your property line, which is the shared invisible line between two adjoining properties. It’s important to avoid placing the fence on neighboring property. Be aware of your property lines and consult a surveyor if needed to mark your lot lines accurately.


Approved fence materials include standard fence wood, vinyl, metal (such as wrought iron). Avoid using unapproved materials like scrap lumber, chicken wire, or wood pallets.

Height Requirements:

The maximum height for a fence varies based on its location on your lot and the fence style or material. Here are the general guidelines:

  • In the front yard, the maximum height is 4 feet. However, a 6-foot ornamental fence (with at least 50% open construction) is allowed.
  • In the side yard, a 4-foot solid fence is permitted. If the upper two feet of the fence is at least 50% open construction (such as lattice or chain link), a 6-foot fence is allowed.
  • In the rear yard, a 6-foot fence is allowed.
  • Opaque, solid, or privacy fences at the intersection of a street and a driveway, alley, or another street are limited to a height of 3 feet.

Historic Districts:

If you reside in a local historic district, contact the Historic Preservation office before starting any construction or entering into a contract with a fence company. A Certificate of Appropriateness is required before obtaining a fence permit.

Vision Setback Triangle:

If you plan to build an opaque or solid fence at the intersection of two streets, an alley and a street, or a driveway and a street, a 3-foot height limitation applies within a specific vision setback area. This is to prevent traffic blind spots and hazards to pedestrians. Solid fences, trees, shrubs, hedges, signs, and other obstructions taller than 3 feet are prohibited within this triangle.

These are simplified explanations of the City of Milwaukee’s fence requirements. For detailed information and specific code requirements, please refer to the Milwaukee Code of Ordinances or contact the Development Center for assistance.


What do you need to do to get approved for a fence permit in Milwaukee?

In the City of Milwaukee, obtaining approval for a fence permit involves complying with certain conditions. These conditions are in place to ensure that fences are constructed safely, maintain neighborhood aesthetics, and adhere to local regulations:

  • A fence located in the front yard may not exceed a height of 4 feet, with limited exceptions based on specific circumstances and design considerations.
  • A fence located in a side yard, between houses, may not exceed a height of 4 feet. However, if any portions of the fence are higher than 4 feet, those sections must have at least 50% open construction, such as lattice, to allow visibility.
  • Solid fences placed near the intersection of two streets, a driveway with a street, or an alley with a street, must not exceed a height of 3 feet. This restriction applies within 10 feet of a driveway intersection, and within 15 to 25 feet of other intersections, depending on the specific zoning district.
  • The fence must be built entirely on your property and should not extend beyond your lot lines.
  • Fences should not be located within the street or alley right-of-way, which is public property. However, if there is a specific need to place the fence within the right-of-way, it must meet all the applicable requirements outlined in Chapter 245 of the Milwaukee Code of Ordinances.
  • All fences must be constructed in a workman-like manner using approved fencing materials. Materials such as plywood sheets, snow fence, chicken wire, and plastic materials less than 1/2 inch thick are prohibited.
  • The structural elements of the fence must face inward toward your property. Supports should not face the street or neighboring properties.
  • Solid fences that are 4 feet or higher must be properly anchored to a minimum depth of 30 inches to ensure stability.
  • All fences must be uniform in color. If the fence is painted, stained, or otherwise finished, it may have up to two colors, as long as the overall appearance is visually harmonious.
  • If the new fence is constructed parallel to and within 6 feet of an existing fence on the same lot, the existing fence must be removed within 10 days of completing the new fence.

These approval conditions are put in place to ensure that fences within the City of Milwaukee meet safety standards, maintain neighborhood aesthetics, and comply with local regulations. It is important to review and follow these conditions when applying for a fence permit in the City of Milwaukee.

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