A Savona homeowner will be tearing down or lowering a brand new fence, following a decision by a divided Thompson-Nicola Regional District board.
A homeowner in the town along Highway 1 about a half-hour west of Kamloops had requested allowance for a fence 1.8 metres in height, taller than a one-metre zoning rule in place in the regional district. The owner purchased the property in 2018, complete with an old cedar fence 2.1 metres in height.
According to the TNRD, the owners removed the fence and built a new one, assuming it complied with height restrictions. The new fence was slightly shorter in height that its predecessor, but significantly longer and bolder. Having been constructed in black metal, it stands out more than did the old wooden structure. TNRD director Ronaye Elliott — who represents Savona — urged colleagues against allowing the variance, noting variances have already been given to the property. Written complaints and calls about the height were received by the TNRD, though immediate neighbours did not weigh in.
“It doesn’t sit well with the community,” Elliott said.
Kamloops Coun. Mike O’Reilly, however, labelled the fence height an “easy mistake” to be made by a homeowner. He pointed out that hedges taller than the fence could have been planted in the same location without violating TNRD zoning.
Elliott said other Savona residents have been required to keep fences one metre or shorter in height.
In the end, the board agreed to stick to the rules — with the majority voting against the fence height exemption. Kamloops councillors O’Reilly, Sadie Hunter and Denis Walsh sided with the homeowner, while Mayor Ken Christian sided with Elliott.
The TNRD notes in its report that fence regulations play a “traditional role in suburban form.” The rules have not changed since the 1980s. Neighbouring regional districts allow fence heights ranging from 1.2 metres (Okanagan-Similkameen) to three metres (Squamish Lillooet). However, many rural zoning bylaws do not have residential smaller lot fence regulations.