Fence Placement

  • You will need a Development Permit in order to erect a fence.
  • Fences may be placed on the property line. However, make sure to determine exactly where the property line is located in order to avoid conflicts with neighbors. The City knows the approximate dimensions of all lots, but not precisely where the lot lines are located. Lot lines must be located by a surveyor.
  • Fences must be out of the street right-of-way. If unsure, a good rule-of-thumb is 18 inches from the sidewalk.
  • Fences may not block the “triangle of vision” at alleys, driveways, or intersections, 25 feet back from property lines. Chain link or short picket fences may be permitted in this area. Consult the Planning Department staff.
  • Fences located against alleys should have a gate for emergency access.

Fence Type

  • No razor or barbed wire fences are allowed within the City of Muskegon.
  • In residential zones, solid fencing (stockade or privacy) in front of the front building line cannot be higher than three (3) feet. Open fencing (chain link) in front of the front building line cannot be higher than four (4) feet.
  • In residential zones, fencing located behind the front building line cannot be higher than six (6) feet.

Special Notes

  • Fences must be of standard commercial construction and must be properly maintained.
  • Corner lots should be looked at by Planning Department staff on a case-by-case basis.
  • Fences on lots located in Historic Districts must first be approved by the Historic District Commission.
  • No fences are permitted within the waterfront setback area (30 feet from the ordinary high-water mark).
  • For stockade fences, ordinances require you to put the “good” side out. This prevents others from climbing into your yard from the outside and also promotes good relationships between neighbors.

For additional information on fence regulations, see Section 2333 of the City’s Zoning Ordinance.

Applications should be submitted with applicable fees to the Planning Department either in person at City Hall, emailed to [email protected], or mailed to:

City of Muskegon Planning Department
933 Terrace Street
Muskegon, MI 49440

Questions about fences?

You may also direct questions to [email protected]