Cranbury Township residents can no longer construct fences in their front yards without approval from the local zoning board.
The Cranbury Township Committee voted unanimously on Feb. 11 to adopt an ordinance to update the fence regulations in the municipality.
Mayor James Taylor, Deputy Mayor Dan Mulligan, Committeeman Mike Ferrante, Committeeman Genn Johnson and Committeeman Matt Scott voted to adopt the ordinance that will now prohibit the construction of fences of all sizes without the stamp of approval from the Cranbury Township Zoning Board.
Before this ordinance was adopted, any resident could construct a front-yard fence that was 3-foot tall and under with just a permit. Now any fence of any size that is planned to be constructed must first be reviewed and then approved by the Cranbury Township Zoning Board.
“We are not telling people that they will have to rip out fences,” Taylor said. “If people need to repair fences or replace them in their front yards that are already there, they are free to do so. What this is, is we have conflicts in our zoning ordinances today. In our zoning ordinance today, you can build a 3-foot fence without a permit. Anything above three feet you had to go before the zoning board to put a fence in along the front of your property or along a route that runs parallel to your property.”
The ordinance will not change for residents who already have 3-foot fences in their front yards.
“Since 1991 when Jeff Graydon became our zoning officer, we have had only 24 applications for three feet or smaller fences,” he said. “A number of those were individuals who put in an application for 3-foot fencing, then proceeded to install fences that were larger. Some were by accident and some by intent so that they did not have to go before the zoning board.”
He said in talking with their zoning officer the feeling was that it would be much simpler if all fences were treated the same. That all residents who want to build fencing in their front yards will be referred to the zoning board for review.
“All this is doing is saying we are not going to let people try and game the system. Everyone is going to be treated evenly,” Taylor said.
The next Cranbury Township Committee meeting is set for Feb. 25 at 7 p.m.