Homeowner Going to Zoning To Fence Their Yard

If you’ve ever been to Rival Brothers at 24th & Lombard, you’ve probably noticed a pair of odd homes across the street on the 2300 block. Almost every home on the south side of the 2300 block of Lombard Street comes up to the front of its property line, but for some reason 2322 and 2324 Lombard St. were constructed with roughly ten foot setbacks. Because of those setbacks, these homes have lovely front yards and very small rear yards.

View at 24th & Lombard
Two homes are set back

You can see, 2324 Lombard St. has a zoning notice posted on the fence out front. And perhaps you’re wondering what’s happening here.

Closer look at the home in question

The owner of this home is looking to build a 6′ fence around their front yard, to turn this quasi-public space into fully private space. In case you’re wondering why this would require the attention of the ZBA, the zoning code prohibits front fences higher than 36″.

We happened upon a thread about this project on the Southwest Center City Facebook Group, where neighbors are going back and forth about this project, as people are wont to do on the internet. Some people are opposed to the fence, arguing that the fence will obscure a unique property in the neighborhood, and suggesting that the fence will reduce eyes on the street. Others have no problem with the fence and seem to think that the owners should be able to do what they want with their property and that the zoning code provision is unecessary.

As you’re probably well aware, zoning cases are ultimately about hardship. We wonder whether the owners of the property will be able to argue that the unusual design of their home, with its large front yard and small rear yard, creates a hardship of minimally usable private outdoor space and that the taller fence would allow them the additional privacy that they desire. Be that as it may, a fence will likely reduce the curb appeal of the two set back properties, which lend a certain unique quality to the block. Ultimately, it’ll probably depend on how the community weighs in and whether the near neighbors are support or oppose the project. What do you think?