Fences

This guideline has been assembled to assist you with the design, permit application process, and installation of a new or replacement fence. A permit is required before a new fence is installed or any repairs are performed on an existing fence. Please read over the information below, if you have questions see the last page for who to contact. Most fence permits are reviewed and issued over the counter.

Required Submittals
The following documents need to be submitted to initiate a review of your project:

  • Fence Application for Permit - Provide a completed Fence - Application for Permit that includes: site address, description of the fence, contractor name, cost of work, permit applicant contact information, etc.
  • Plat of Survey - Provide a plat of survey (original or copy) that indicates the location, height, and type of the proposed fence including any gates, utility equipment (such as transformers), sewer manholes, etc.
  • Permit Fee - A permit fee of $50 is due at the time of permit issuance.

Significant Codes
Provided below is an abbreviated list of codes that are applicable to the design and installation of fences within the City of Wheaton, for specific wording see Chapter 22, Wheaton City Code, Article XII, Fences & Flagpoles for the entire fence code.

To see a picture of City fence height and type requirements imposed on the typical interior and corner lots see page 3 titled “Fence Types and Heights for Corner and Interior Lots”.

Corner Lot

  • Front Yard is defined as the shorter of the two dimensions of a lot. If the front entrance to the dwelling is located on the side of the house that is adjacent to a street, front yard includes that area of the lot in front of the house. The front yard is required to have Decorative open type fence. Maximum 3-foot-tall picket or wrought iron or a maximum 4’ tall split rail fence.
  • Yard is allowed to have up to a six (6) foot tall solid or open fence.
  • Side Yard Adjacent to HIGH Volume Street is allowed to have up to a six (6) foot tall, solid or open type fence. Thirty-three (33) streets in Wheaton are designated with High volume traffic (Wheaton City Code Sec. 22-157).
  • Side Yard Adjacent to LOW Volume Street is allowed to have up to a four (4) foot tall, open style fence. Open style fence includes shadow box style fence where boards are on alternate sides of support rail with a ¼” gap between boards.
  • Typical Requirements: see below.

Interior Lot

  • Front Yard is required to have Decorative open type fence. Maximum 3-foot-tall picket or wrought iron or a maximum 4’ tall split rail fence.
  • Yard Is allowed to have up to a 6-foot-tall solid or open fence in the yard.
  • Typical Requirements: see below.

Typical Requirements that apply to most fences/lots.

  • Finished side of fence faces outward from property.
  • No chain link fence in the front or side yard adjacent to street or double frontage lot.
  • No gate across driveway in the front or side yard.
  • Gate shall not swing over a public walk.
  • Installation of fence shall be on subject property as permitted.
  • Fence shall be no closer than 12” to any public walk.
  • Post not to extend beyond 6” above the height of the fence.
  • Bottom edge of the fence to be installed no more than two inches above grade.
  • No more than one fence along the lot line (old fence must be removed).
  • Permanent advertisement signs for fence installer not allowed.
  • Only schools, churches, government, and utility may petition for a non-conforming fence.
  • Before you dig post holes, installer is required to call J.U.L.I.E. at 1-800-892-0123 to confirm the location of utilities.
  • Double frontage lot provide access gate for access for maintenance. No chain link if adjacent to a high-volume street.
  • Maximum 8’ tall in yard or side yard is allowed at: railroad, utility substations, and between R1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 and business, multi-family, industrial, and non-conforming properties and if adjacent to center of street or pedestrian path is higher than lot.
  • Chain link shall have no slats and top edge shall be folded down to have a knuckle edge.
  • Barbwire in industrial district only, minimum 7’ high. No electrically charged fence.
  • Dog runs, not in front or side yard, 6’ maximum height, 20% of the yard, 5’ setback.
  • Radio-controlled “invisible” fence shall be installed entirely on the subject property, no permit required.
  • Fences in flood plains require Stormwater Management permit be submitted for approval.
  • Arbors and Trellis - Can be placed anywhere on the property. No permit is required.
  • Provide a minimum 24” clearance and access to utility equipment on the property within easements.
  • Fences are not allowed on vacant properties.
  • For lots with swimming pools or hot tubs see “Section AG105 - Pools, Spas & Hot Tubs” below for fencing requirements/ restrictions.

Fence Types and Heights for Corner & Interior Lots
Provided below is an abbreviated list of codes that are applicable to the design and installation of fences within the City of Wheaton. See Wheaton City Code Chapter 22, Article XII, Fences & Flagpoles for the entire fence code.

Front Yard Low Volume Road
Low Volume Road
Interior Lot LeftInterior Lot MiddleInterior Lot Right
HIGH or LOW Volume Road
Low Volume Road
Front Yard High Volume Road

Indicates main entrance Indicates Front Entrance

Interior & Corner

  • Finished side of fence faces outward from property;
  • No chain-link fence in the front or side yard adjacent to street or double frontage lot;
  • No Gate across driveway in the front or side yard;
  • Gate shall not swing over a public walk;
  • Fence must be on subject property and no closer than 12” to a public walk;
  • Maintain access (gate, removable panel) to utilities minimum 24” clearance;
  • See Pool and Spa Barrier Requirement Guidelines;
  • See Fence Guidelines for typical requirements.

Interior Lot

  • Front Yard: is allowed to have a 3 to 4-foot-high Decorative Fence;
  • Yard: is allowed to have a six (6) foot tall solid or open fence in the yard.

Corner Lot

  • Front Yard: defined as the shorter of the two dimensions of a lot. If the front entrance to the house is located on the side of the house that is adjacent to a street, front yard includes that area of the lot in front of the house. The front yard is allowed to have a 3 to 4-foot-high Decorative Fence;
  • Yard: is allowed to have a six (6) foot tall solid or open fence;
  • Side Yard Adjacent to HIGH Volume Street: is allowed to have a six (6) foot tall, solid or open style fence. Thirty-three (33) streets in Wheaton are designated with High volume traffic (Sec 22-157);
  • Side Yard Adjacent to LOW Volume Street: is allowed to have a four (4) foot tall, open style fence. Open style fence includes shadow box style fence where boards are on alternate sides of support rail with a ¼” gap between boards.
Front-Yard - Decorative Fences
Side-Yard - Shadowbox Open;
Yard - Solid Fence

Fence in Floodplain or Floodway
The countywide stormwater management ordinance requires a permit for any work within a special management area, except for maintenance of existing improvements that do not affect the ecology of a wetland or riparian environment. These types of permits cannot be an over the counter permit and the following general principles should be followed when permitting fences in special management areas:

Maintenance of fences, or replacement of existing fences in the floodway or floodplain:
Maintenance of existing fences will be allowed when they are replaced with the same size and type of material. A stormwater management permit must be submitted along with a schedule and plan that address the means and methods of construction; such as removal of spoil piles from fence post-placement, access and erosion control and other such means and methods required for the specific environment.

Construction of New Fences in the Floodplain or Floodway
New fences in floodway areas will not be allowed since they are not an acceptable use. New fences in floodplain areas may be allowed if they meet the general criteria of not diverting or changing the flow of stormwater. A stormwater management permit must be submitted along with a schedule and plan that address the means and methods of construction; such as removal of spoil piles from fence post-placement, access and erosion control and other such means and methods required for the specific environment. All new fences must be open to allow the free flow of stormwater such as split rail, picket, board on board or other such types. Chain link fencing will generally not be allowed unless it can be demonstrated that it will not impede the flow of water when debris is piled against it. The City of Wheaton is a partial waiver community and permits for new fences must be certified by DuPage County. This certification would require five (5) sets of plans, supporting documentation and a completed Stormwater Management application be submitted to the City of Wheaton for review.

Fence (Barrier) for Swimming Pool or Hot Tub
Based on the International Residential Code, Section AG105 - Pools, Spas & Hot Tubs Barrier Requirements

AG105.1 Application
The provisions of this chapter shall control the design of barriers for residential swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs. These design controls are intended to provide protection against potential drowning and near-drowning by restricting access to swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs.

AG105.2 Outdoor swimming pool
An outdoor swimming pool, including an in-ground, aboveground or on-ground pool, hot tub or spa shall be provided with a barrier which shall comply with the following:

  1. The top of the barrier shall be at least 48 inches (1219 mm) above grade measured on the side of the barrier which faces away from the swimming pool. The maximum vertical clearance between grade and the bottom of the barrier shall be 2 inches (51 mm) measured on the side of the barrier which faces away from the swimming pool. Where the top of the pool structure is above grade, such as an aboveground pool, the barrier may be at ground level, such as the pool structure, or mounted on top of the pool structure. Where the barrier is mounted on top of the pool structure, the maximum vertical clearance between the top of the pool structure and the bottom of the barrier shall be 4 inches (102 mm).
  2. Openings in the barrier shall not allow passage of a 4-inch-diameter (102 mm) sphere.
  3. Solid barriers which do not have openings, such as masonry or stone wall, shall not contain indentations or protrusions except for normal construction tolerances and tooled masonry joints.
  4. Where the barrier is composed of horizontal and vertical members and the distance between the tops of the horizontal members is less than 45 inches (1143 mm), the horizontal members shall be located on the swimming pool side of the fence. Spacing between vertical members shall not exceed 1.75 inches (44 mm) in width. Where there are decorative cutouts within vertical members, spacing within the cutouts shall not exceed 1.75 inches (44 mm) in width.
  5. Where the barrier is composed of horizontal and vertical members and the distance between the tops of the horizontal members is 45 inches (1143 mm) or more, the spacing between vertical members shall not exceed 4 inches (102 mm). Where there are decorative cutouts within vertical members, spacing within the cutouts shall not exceed 1.75 inches (44 mm) in width.
  6. Maximum mesh size for chain link fences shall be a 2.25-inch (57 mm) square unless the fence is provided with slats fastened at the top or the bottom which reduce the openings to not more than 1.75 inches (44 mm).
  7. Where the barrier is composed of diagonal members, such as a lattice fence, the maximum opening formed by the diagonal members shall not be more than 1.75 inches (44 mm).
  8. Access gates shall comply with the requirements of Section AG105.2, Items 1 through 7, and shall be equipped to accommodate a locking device. Pedestrian access gates shall open outward away from the pool and shall be self-closing and have a self-latching device. Gates other than pedestrian access gates shall have a self-latching device. Where the release mechanism of the self-latching device is located less than 54 inches (1372 mm) from the bottom of the gate, the release mechanism and openings shall comply with the following:
    1. The release mechanism shall be located on the poolside of the gate at least 3 inches (76 mm) below the top of the gate, and
    2. The gate and barrier shall have no opening greater than 0.5 inches (12.7 mm) within 18 inches (457 mm) of the release mechanism.
  9. Where a wall of a dwelling serves as part of the barrier one of the following conditions shall be met:
    1. The pool shall be equipped with a powered safety cover in compliance with ASTM F1346; or
    2. All doors with direct access to the pool through that wall shall be equipped with an alarm which produces an audible warning when the door and its screen, if present, are opened. The alarm shall sound continuously for a minimum of 30 seconds immediately after the door is opened and be capable of being heard throughout the house during normal household activities. The alarm shall automatically reset under all conditions. The alarm system shall be equipped with a manual means, such as touchpad or switch, to temporarily deactivate the alarm for a single opening. Such deactivation shall last for not more than 15 seconds. The deactivation switch(s) shall be located at least 54 inches (1372 mm) above the threshold of the door; or
    3. Other means of protection, such as self-closing doors with self-latching devices, which are approved by the governing body, shall be acceptable so long as the degree of protection afforded is not less than the protection afforded by Item 9.1 or 9.2 described above.
  10. Where an aboveground pool structure is used as a barrier or where the barrier is mounted on top of the pool structure and the means of access is a ladder or steps, then:
    1. The ladder or steps shall be capable of being secured, locked, or removed to prevent access, or
    2. The ladder or steps shall be surrounded by a barrier which meets the requirements of Section AG105.2, Items 1 through 9. When the ladder or steps are secured, locked, or removed, any opening created shall not allow the passage of a 4-inch-diameter (102 mm) sphere.

AG105.3 Indoor swimming pool
All walls surrounding an indoor swimming pool shall comply with Section AG105.2, Item 9.

AG105.4 Prohibited locations
Barriers shall be located so as to prohibit permanent structures, equipment or similar objects from being used to climb the barriers.

AG105.5 Barrier exceptions
Spas or hot tubs with a safety cover which complies with ASTM F 1346, as listed in Section AG107, shall be exempt from the provisions of this appendix.

Inspections
The inspection listed below is required for all fence installations. To schedule an inspection, please call 630-260-2050 a minimum of 24 hours in advance, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday.

Type of Inspection When to call
Final After Fence has been installed

Please note, the inspection performed is to confirm that the height and type of fence is in compliance but does not confirm if the fence is on or off the subject property. An inspection notice will be left at the front door if the fence is not in code compliance.

Contact Us
City of Wheaton Building & Code Enforcement Department
Address: 303 W. Wesley Street, Wheaton, IL 60187
Phone Calls:

  • Applying for a Permit - 630-260-2050
  • General Fence Questions - 630-260-2050
  • Swimming Pool Fences - 630-260-2053
  • EFences in Floodplain - 630-260-2868
  • Fax - 630-260-2195 (contractor requirements, certificates of insurance & bonds)

Business hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Revised 2/12/2018