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How Tall Is Too Tall? North Dallas Fence Fight Brewing

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - A North Dallas community is feeling unfairly targeted after homeowners began receiving citations from the city claiming their fences were too tall.

"My fence, I believe is no different than anybody else's. And probably no different than people in other neighborhoods," said Virginia Nisbet who's lived in her home for nearly two decades. "Nineteen years in the same place and the fence was here when I bought it," she said.

Nisbet was surprised to receive a citation last week that said she needed a permit for a fence over 6 feet tall.

A City of Dallas spokesperson said the ordinance is enforced citywide, but homeowners in the Schrieber Manor neighborhood say enforcement has come suddenly and without warning.

"I asked the inspector why I'm just getting this now and she's said, 'You're lucky or you've been lucky you haven't gotten one before now,'" Nisbet said.

On her street, there's nothing unusual about an 8 foot fence. "You can look all the way down the alley. Fences are pretty much the same height," she said.

Two doors down, Dr. Marcial Oquendo also received a citation for his fence. "Everyone's already kind of mad about it, so when I got it I was also mad about it, because we just moved here," he said.

A City of Dallas spokesperson confirmed "a code inspector... conducting a proactive patrol... noted a lot tall fences" in the area last month. The inspector cited 21 homes on two adjacent streets for not having permits.

"I'm sure when they were built, they were built with the right permits," said Oquendo.

Neighbors are now searching for decades-old records for proof that permits were granted, but the city's given them just seven days to fix the problem or pay fines in excess of $300.

"I'm not sure what the ordinance is doing other than hassling the citizens," said Nisbet. She told CBS 11 News she feels safer with an 8 foot fence. "With a shorter fence, people could just hop over it or look over and see if you're home."

The cost of a fence permit is a minimum of $100, according to city records.

CBS 11 has requested additional information on the enforcement of the fence ordinance. News coverage will be updated, when we receive a response.

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