How to get HOA approval for the fence you want.

Posted by Michelle Goodwin on Thu, Feb 12, 2015

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The rise of Homeowner Associations in recent years has seen exponential growth. Before you rush out to install the fence of your dreams, here are some tips of the trade from a Residential fence expert on the possible pitfalls of building that beautiful new fence installation.

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners can make when installing a fence is not checking to see what the by-laws of their Homeowners Association (HOA) require.

You can't assume that what your neighbors have previously done with their fence and yard complies with your particular HOA regulations.

Even though a neighbor might have an admirable fence enclosure or gate doesn't mean doesn't mean that your HOA approved that particular fence installation.

We can recall a particular job where a customer scheduled an install for a chain link fence, and as it was in progress, the customer panicked as the HOA just informed her that absolutely no chain link was allowed in their community. Several adjacent yards that had previously used chain link enclosures prior to her request were ordered to remove them and seek other fence options. It turns out that residents were only approved to have vinyl and ornamental aluminum installed in that neighborhood. 

In another instance, a customer submitted her information to the HOA weeks in advance. Due to the fact that she had not heard from the HOA, she assumed that the fence was approved. So, she went forward with the installation. The HOA later stated that they never received her request. The customer then was ordered to redo her fence structure according to her neighborhood's HOA standards, and have the style she selected approved by them.

Typically, a HOA can take anywhere from one week to six weeks to approve your fence project. Generally speaking, you have to to get the HOA's approval whenever you do anything to the exterior of your residence. This can even include painting and landscaping.

HOW TO AVOID COSTLY HOA FENCE INSTALL MISTAKES

Many HOA ordinances and rules prevent you from constructing chain link, split rail, or wire containment fences because they are not aesthetically appealing. If you install a fence without HOA approval, you can almost be sure you will have to tear it down or face serious fines, as well as aggravation and time consumption.

 

THE FOLLOWING ARE SUGGESTIONS TO ENSURE HOA APPROVAL ON YOUR FENCE PROJECT


1.
     Read the regulations provided by the HOA thoroughly. Make sure that you have the most updated version. Call the HOA president or another board member with all questions you have regarding the specific regulations. Document the date and time of call, the name of the person with whom you spoke with, as well as what was said during the conversation.

2.     Make notes on what you want to communicate in your letter to the HOA. In your correspondence try to anticipate any questions the HOA board may have about your project. Always include possible solutions to any problem you think the board may have with your planned project.

3.     Enclose blueprints, pictures and project drawings. Also, be sure to include the specific dimensions of your project and any other pertinent details in your letter. Include images or colors of the materials you will be using. Be clear and precise so your letter will be easily understood.

4.     Make copies of your letter to keep for your records. Mail your request to the homeowners association. Be sure you have included the best ways for members to contact you, such as giving them both a home and work telephone number.

5.     Follow up on your letter if you are not contacted within a week after mailing. Confirm your letter has been received and ask for a date by which the board will render a decision on the plans for your property.

6.     Appeal for a variance if your request is denied and you still want to pursue your plans. An appeal hearing may then be scheduled during which you can present your case to the entire board. You can enlist the support of your neighbors to help bolster your argument.

Be sure to get the approval of the HOA first. It is not up to the fence contractor to find out the rules and regulations or to get approval of the HOA for your project. That being said, a longstanding and professional fence company will gladly help advise you in this process and should go out of their way to help you with your installation concerns.  

They can also supply you with fence samples and pictures of existing installations to help you get the approval of the HOA before starting construction so you won't be on the fence with your Home Owners Association.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE AMERICAN HOME OWNERS ASSOCIATION FOR RESOURCES ON REGIONAL AND LOCAL REGULATIONS FOR YOUR UPCOMING FENCE PROJECT

CLICK FOR AN AWESOME INFOGRAPHIC ABOUT THE RISE OF THE HOA IN THE UA!S

 

Topics: Specifications, Residential Fence Choices, Homeowners Association, HOA, Residential Fence, backyard Fence, Fence Permit, Regulations, Insurance, Richmond Fence, fence law, fence regulations, virginia fence code, Maintenance, fences richmond, first time home buyers, codes, hoa fence, fence insurance

Options for Commercial Access Gates and Fence Solutions

Posted by Michelle Goodwin on Thu, Jul 03, 2014

A Professional Fence Company should have a variety options for Commercial Gate applications. The gate systems are designed to restrict unwanted entry and ensure the protection of assets and employees. Gate systems are designed to work efficiently with repeated mechanical use in any setting. Hurricane Fence Company offers the latest in Commercial Gate System trends and technology in a plethora of scales and styles. These maneuverable fence barriers can be engineered to meet the needs of everything from small Residential Secured Access to the most complex structural demands.

The following are a few examples of routinely offered Commercial Gate Systems.  

Swing Arm Gates

swing arm gate

Swing Arms are motorized barriers that raise a steel or aluminum arm from a horizontal position to a vertical position. They give you the ability to control pedestrian and/or vehicle traffic on roadways up to 38'. These gates can have an assortment of automatic controls, such as card readers, vehicle detectors/counters, reversing logic, which causes the arm to re-open should it strike an object, and anti tailgating devices, which keep multiple vehicles from pulling through on a single cycle. A switch in a security office can also be set up to control these gates.

Many Fence Contractors also offer High Speed Swing Arm Gates that will open in less than two seconds, using either 8 or 12' arms. Heavy duty gates, with arms up to 24', are also available if gate specifications require them.

Slide Gates   

sliding gate 

Sliding Gates are often the best solution for commercial premises with busy access points. You must have room set aside for the gate in the open position. Installers can customize slide gates to accommodate a wide range of commercial applications. Many different styles of slide gates are available of which the most common is a two-rail slide gate.

There are three rail slide gates that will allow the use of almost any material you wish to face the gate. For this the commonly used materials are plastic, wood, or metal. A well set up fence supplier can also custom fabricate a slide gate to match a wide range of already existing gate styles. 

Cantilever Gates

cantaliever gate cantaliever gate

Automation of a cantilever slide gate involves the addition of a slide gate operator that can be pad or post mounted. This provides a means to open or close the gate and the addition of safety devices such as safety loops, gate edges or photo eyes. Gate operators can be added to existing gates as well as new ones and integrated into any existing access control system.

The gate itself does not touch the ground and is supported by rollers, which are attached to two large side posts.

The gate will have a tail that is used to support itself when it is in the open position. One thing to keep in mind when considering the installation of a cantilever gate is that you must have adequate overhead clearance to ensure that the gate can open fully.

Cantilever Gate Systems can be constructed with nearly any fencing material, but the distance of the opening will play an important role in determining which type of materials you can use when constructing your Commercial Gate. Lighter fabrication materials should be considered when spanning wide opening, which will make the overall weight of the gate lighter.   

See Commercial Gate Fabrication in action on Hurricane Fence Company's Youtube channel.Commercial Gates, Commercial Gates Richmond, Gate Fabrication Richmond, gates richmond, gates norfolk, gates williamsburg, gates va beach, gate making richmond

Topics: Military Fence Installations, Military Fence, Government Fence, Fence Design, Perimeter Security, Gates, Specifications, High Security Fence, Ornamental Aluminum, Commercial Fence, Steel Slide Gates, Historical Fence, Fence Permit, Regulations, Maximum Security Fence, Fence Maintenance, Richmond Fence, fence regulations, Maintenance, Aluminum Fence, Comparison, codes, Military Fence Virginia

How to choose the fence option that suits your personal needs

Posted by Michelle Goodwin on Fri, Jun 20, 2014
Perhaps the best reason for putting up a fence isn't practical, it's emotional. A fence encloses your territory. Fences and walls really help make home feel special, separate and your own, like a haven and a sanctuary.

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AN OVERVIEW:

A fence is more than just a barrier. Used in imaginative ways, it can become an architectural feature that blends well with the style of your house, a landscape element that enhances the appearance of your property, or an accent piece that helps define a part of your yard or garden.In The Fence Bible hands-on home improvement expert Jeff Beneke provides an in-depth, comprehensive how-to encyclopedia that enables homeowners to choose and build the fences and gates that are best for their landscape—both for appearance and function.Beneke suggests the appropriate types of fence to keep the swimming pool secure, confine the livestock, keep deer away from the garden, or create outdoor living spaces. He then discusses the essentials of proper fence design and provides step-by-step illustrated instructions for planning, building, maintaining, and repairing any style of fence.

Here's what goes into planning, designing and buying a fence and the materials to build one.

Privacy, security, curb appeal, noise reduction: The benefits of residential fences are numerous.There also are plenty of practical reasons for a fence. "The place I always suggest starting with (is) function," says Jeff Beneke, author of "The Fence Bible." 
Here's a look at what fences can do and how you can build or select the right one for your budget. 
 AVAILABLE on AmazonEbayBarnes & Noble, and Google Books


The first step is determining what you want your fence to do. Fences serve many purposes, including:
  • Security Fence: Even a fence only 3 feet tall can help deter prowlers, says Chris McGoey, a security expert in Los Angeles. "It is psychological," he says. "A fence denotes a property.
    It says, 'This is my house, my property.' People are going to be reluctant to step over that fence. Even a small boundary fence will discourage people from cutting across your yard.

  • Privacy Fencing: Living your life shielded from the prying eyes of others is a luxury of private property. A high privacy fence, tastefully built, can give you room to let down your hair, no matter how small your deck or yard.

  • Decoration: A well-designed, professionally installed fence will frame your home and add tremendous curb appeal. It may also enhance your property value, depending on your neighborhood and the fence's design and quality.

  • Boundary: It's a good idea to define your boundaries, especially if you own a small lot. A fence prevents neighbors from encroaching on your property.

  • Safety: A fence offers peace of mind. They keep small children and pets safe from strangers, traffic and hazards such as swimming pools, high bluffs and ravines.

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    Garden protection: Just as a fence holds in your pets, it keeps stray animals and other pests from digging and defecating in your yard. Properly constructed, fencing around a vegetable or ornamental garden also can protect precious plants from foraging deer and rabbits.

     

  • Weather protection: Snow fences keep drifts from growing too large. A protective fence lets you enjoy a garden or deck in a windy area; Beneke says he likes a louvered fence for taming a windy patio.

  • Noise: A privacy fence can buffer some noise. Wood blocks noise better than most fence materials. Planting a hedge or other tall vegetation in front of the fence helps buffer noise even further. For serious noise protection, professional fence specialists offer noise-buffering blankets that can be pulled tightly over any fence. Costs for these products start at about $12 per linear foot for a 6-foot-tall fence.

    The most effective fence for dulling sound is a tall, custom-built fence of foam-filled aluminum or composite, says Chris Policastro, vice president of operations at Production Fenceworks in Atlanta. This kind of fence costs $60 to $300 per linear foot for a 6-foot fence. 

  • Cosmetics: Trash cans? Propane gas tanks? The neighbor's trampoline? A large or small fence may hide it. It's like putting makeup on a pimple, Beneke says. Planting a vine or shrub in front of it makes it even prettier.

Cost and Planning

Once you have a list of your fencing needs, take your specs to a professional fence contracting company and talk it over with experts. Even if you build your fence yourself, it helps to bounce ideas around and ensure you have the right expectations for your fence materials, design law and specifications in your individual rural, suburban or urban location.

Here's a scenario: Farmers who've built 6' high enclosures soon learn that deer can jump 8 feet. To remedy that issue take into account that an overhanging extension or one of the deer-fence ideas from Leonard Perry, extension professor at the University of Vermont, may be a viable solution.

In another scenario, Homeowners have installed chain-link and vinyl fences only to finding out that their homeowners association (HOA) bans them. So make sure you arm yourself with knowledge going into your fence project.

Fence costs can sometimes be steep. A lot of material and labor is involved. But costs always vary depending on your preffered materials and style. You can cut fence costs by and by choosing local species of wood. Get a couple estimates, look at thheir websites and credential when selecting a contractor.

Beneke, a proponent of doing it yourself, nevertheless says he warns against getting into a job that's too big for your skills or your time. Building a fence is a big job, and you deserve to have a fence that fits you and your needs.

(TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK'S FENCE POST: PART 2: A FENCE THAT FITS: BUILDING THE RIGHT FENCE FOR YOU AND YOUR BUDGET.


Sources: MSN.com, The Fence BibleMore on residential fences

Topics: Specifications, Specialty Fence, Residential Fence Choices, Homeowners Association, Vinyl Fence, Property Value, backyard Fence, Fence Permit, Pool Fence, Richmond Fence, fence regulations, chain link fence, fences richmond, Aluminum Fence, Pool Gates, Comparison, pickett fence, wood privacy fence, pressure treated fence

Va. Fence Law: Who's Actually Responsible for the Cost of My Fence?

Posted by Michelle Goodwin on Fri, May 09, 2014

As the weather warms, Virginian's are beginning to make their outdoor wishlists. If you're thinking of installing an above or in-ground swimming pool or trying your hand at urban or rural farming, the majority of the information in this article will greatly help you in understanding the ordinances, cost and responsibilities surrounding your 2014 outdoor projects. And—you might have to spend less than you think.

The info in this article is coming straight from the Virginia Legislative Branch's website http://leg1.state.va.us/. Most of what is covered is state level laws but each locality has its own set of governing laws that tend to vary greatly—and lean specific to that geographic location and the prevailing uses for fence installation in that area.

Like most laws, fence regulations can be somewhat convoluted. That's why it's of the utmost importance to pick a fence contractor that understands Virginia's fence laws at the state level. Laws are set by each locality. Most statutes that accompany Virginia fence installation are in reference to livestock(1); fence and its use for pools(2) and railroads(3) are also mentioned in some codes.

Swimming Pool Laws

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For example, if you live in an area that has ordinances that excersizes the maximum punitive actions allowed by § 15.2-921 and you violate said ordinances by not having a fence around a pool, or the fence takes more than 24 days to complete, a person could face as much as $7200 in fines plus court costs or 2 years in jail. The last part of § 15.2-921 simply states "Any such ordinance may be made applicable to swimming pools constructed before, as well as those constructed after, the adoption thereof. No such ordinance shall take effect less than ninety days from the adoption thereof, nor shall any such ordinance apply to any swimming pool operated by or in conjunction with any hotel located on a government reservation." In short ordincances are not required to include a grandfather clause, take atleast 90 day before becoming active and do not apply to swimming pools operated by or in conjunction with any hotel on a government reservation.

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Since the Virginia legal guideline for pool fences is the most strait forward we can cover that first. 

Virginia code § 15.2-921 defines the word "fence" as a close type vertical barrier not less than four feet in height above ground surface.

woven steel wire, chain link, picket or solid board type fence, or a fence of similar construction which will prevent the smallest of children from getting through.(2) Keep in mind, that this definition is only in reference to residential property."Ordinances may require professional fence construction for new or existing swimming pools." This means that if a fence is less that 4 feet doesnt count for the perpose of fencing a pool.A pool or more specifically a swimming pool is defined as "any outdoor man-made structure constructed from material other than natural earth or soil designed or used to hold water for the purpose of providing a swimming or bathing place for any person or any such structure for the purpose of impounding water therein to a depth of more than two feet."(2) this definition is prefeced with the word "includes" in § 15.2-921 meaning that broader definitions may also apply.The code of virginia § 15.2-921 grants any locality the ability to "adopt ordinances making it unlawful for any person to construct, maintain, use, possess or control any pool on any property in such locality, without having a fence completely around such swimming pool. Such ordinances also may provide that every gate in such fence shall be capable of being securely fastened at a height of not less than four feet above ground level; that it shall be unlawful for any such pool gate to be allowed to remain unfastened while the pool is not in use; and that such fence shall be constructed so as to come within two inches of the ground at the bottom and shall be at least five feet from the edge of the pool at any point." the code the restricts the the punative actions of a loacality tofine of not more than $300 or confinement in jail for not more than thirty days, either or both. Each day's violation may be construed as a separate offense." but with each day being a seperate offince it can add up.


A
gricultural Fence

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Virginia law as it pertains to fence in agricultrial applications is somewhat contradictory. When it comes to fencing used for livestock, there are two main schools of thought.

"Fence In" where the live stock are to be contrained on a given property via  dating back to 17th century english common law.(1) The other common philosophy is referred to as "Fence Out" in which it is the responsibility of a land owner who whishes to keep livestock off their property had to build their own fence. The type of fence law that applies changes from county to county. Here are a list of Virginia Counties who participate.

“Fence In” Counties: Albemarle, Arlington, Augusta, Bedford, Botetourt, Buckingham, Campbell, Charles City, Chesterfield, Clarke, Culpeper, Cumberland, Dickenson, Fauquier, Floyd, Fluvanna, Gloucester, Goochland, Greene, Halifax, Hanover, Isle of Wight, King George, Loudoun, Louisa, Madison, New Kent, Orange, Page, Patrick, Pittsylvania, Pulaski, Rappahannock, Roanoke, Rockingham, Russell, Scott, Southampton, Spotsylvania, Smyth, Sussex, Washington, Wise, Wythe, York.

“Fence Out” Counties are Accomack, Alleghany, Amelia, Amherst, Appomattox, Bath, Bland, Brunswick, Buchanan, Caroline, Carroll, Charlotte, Chesapeake, Craig, Dinwiddie, Essex, Fairfax, Franklin, Frederick, Giles, Grayson, Greensville, Hampton, Henrico, Henry, Highland, James City, King & Queen, King William, Lancaster, Lee, Lunenburg, Mathews, Mecklenburg, Middlesex, Montgomery, Nelson, Newport News, Northumberland, Northampton, Nottoway, Orange, Powhatan, Prince Edward, Prince George, Prince William, Richmond, Rockbridge, Shenandoah, Stafford, Suffolk, Surry, Tazewell, Virginia Beach, Warren, Westmoreland.

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The information above came frome https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/news/fbmu/2009/12/article_4.html

While wordy, provided below is the exact wording of "§ 55-299. Definition of lawful fence." taken from https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+55-299.

§ 55-299. Definition of lawful fence.

Every fence shall be deemed a lawful fence as to any livestock named in § 55-306, which could not creep through the same, if

(1) Five feet high, including, if the fence be on a mound, the mound to the bottom of the ditch,

(2) Of barbed wire, 42 inches high, consisting of at least four strands of barbed wire, firmly fixed to posts, trees, or other supports substantially set in the ground, spaced no farther than 12 feet apart unless a substantial stay or brace is installed halfway between such posts, trees or other supports to which such wires shall be also fixed,

(3) Of boards, planks, or rails, 42 inches high, consisting of at least three boards firmly attached to posts, trees, or other supports substantially set in the ground,

(4) Three feet high within the limits of any incorporated town whose charter does not prescribe, nor give to the council thereof power of prescribing, what shall constitute a lawful fence within such corporate limits, or

(5) Any fence of any kind whatsoever, except as described in this section, and except in the case of incorporated towns as set forth in subdivision (4), which shall be:

a. At least 42 inches high,

b. Constructed from materials sold for fencing or consisting of systems or devices based on technology generally accepted as appropriate for the confinement or restriction of livestock named in § 55-306, and

c. Installed pursuant to generally acceptable standards so that applicable livestock named in § 55-306 cannot creep through the same.

A cattle guard reasonably sufficient to turn all kinds of livestock shall also be deemed a lawful fence as to any livestock mentioned in § 55-306.

Nothing contained in this section shall affect the right of any such town to regulate or forbid the running at large of cattle and other domestic animals within its corporate limits.

The Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services may adopt rules and regulations regarding lawful fencing consistent with this section to provide greater specificity as to the requirements of lawful fencing. The absence of any such rule or regulation shall not affect the validity or applicability of this section as it relates to what constitutes lawful fencing.

(Code 1950, § 8-869; 1977, c. 624; 2007, c. 574.)

There are other statues that allow for some bodies of water in certain circumstances to also be considered "Lawful Fences"  to include 55-300, 55-302, and 55-303. more information can be found at https://leg1.state.va.us/

Reguardless of whether a property is in a "Fence In" or Fence Out" county there are Virginia statutes that provide a means by which one land owner may compel a neighbor to aide in the construction or maintenance of a given boundry fence. The law also makes a dinstinction between existing and none existng boundry fence.

"Virginia fence law refers only to landowners.  The Code does not mention ‘tenants’ or ‘owners of livestock.’  This has very real implications for landowners who lease land to farmers with an understanding that the farmer-tenant maintains all fences. Landowners should be aware of their potential obligations and liability related to maintaining boundary fences."(1)

In summary the law surrounding fence is convoluted and often contradictory thus it is a good idea to get legal advice on these matters. Keep in mind that if the situation arises that a fence is to be mandated, there may be legal recourse for the construction and, or financing of a mandated fence when it lies between two properties.

Read Virginia Legislative Fence Ordinances in their etirity at the folllowing websites:

1.(https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/news/fbmu/2009/12/article_4.html)

2.(http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+15.2-921)

3.(http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+56-429)

4.(https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+55-299)

Topics: Fence Design, Perimeter Security, Specifications, High Security Fence, Pool Gate Hardware, Regulation, Fence Maintenance, Richmond Fence, fence law, fence regulations, swimming pool regulations, agricultural fence, virginia fence code

Cedar or Pressure Treated Wood. Which will work best for my fence project?

Posted by Michelle Goodwin on Mon, Apr 28, 2014

Wood fences are beautiful, no doubt, and (PVC) vinyl fences even come with simulated options making man-made materials look and feel nature based. 

But in Virginia, cedar wood and pressure-treated pine are two of our top-selling residential fence types.

Eighty percent of all wood fencing is composed of either pine or cedar wood.

Below are various residential fence solutions available throughout the United States.

6' Privacy Cedar with Clear Posts

6' Shadowbox Convex cedar

Two Cedar privacy fence options - Left: 6 ft. cedar privacy fence with clear posts / Right: 6 ft. cedar Shadowbox privacy fence

 

Red cedar trees are indigenous to the American Northwest and Canada. The red cedar wood's straight, tight grain and lack of knots make for optimal fence material. It is naturally highly resistant to decomposition, displays a beautiful red hue, and is well-known for its' aromatic woodsy smell.

Cedar does not warp or shrink and is a naturally stable material perfect for picket and privacy fences. Cedar wood fences stand the test of time, and look great decades after installation.

For fence posts, cedar can go several years without rotting; however, they tend to be less durable against soil erosion than pressure treated pine posts.

For this reason, it may be a good idea to use pressure treated pine for the posts and cedar for the rest of the fence. 

Or, the cedar fence posts can be set in concrete to prevent soil-related rotting.

Pressure treated wood (PTP) is the most popular residential fence choice in outdoor structures (decks, porches, and all types of residential fences, for example).

PTP can warp, shrink, and crack. The sun makes any outdoor damage worse especially if you don't stain it.

To avoid this, pressure treated pine (PTP) is chemically-treated in order to prevent against decay, termites, weathering, and other pine-related troubles. All PTP fences come with a warranty to protect against termites and rotting.

PTP fences need to be consistently and regularly maintained. It is recommended that all pressure treated pine fencing should be stained and sealed about 6 weeks after installation to improve and maintain a handsome appearance and prevent rot. 

https://www.hurricanefenceinc.com/wood-fences

Pressure treated: 6 ft. concave board picket fence

 

Keeping your pressure treated fence wet when it is hot or exposed to the sun can also be done to maintain your pine fence and keep the fence from cracking. Staining, sealing, moistening, stripping, and cleaning are all maintenance techniques that are commonly used and recommended for pressure treated pine fences.

Cedar is increasingly rare and thus more expensive than pine. However, cedar stands up to the test of time and it's aroma and handsome appearance coupled with the comparatively low required maintenance make it a smart investment. These incentives outweigh the cons for most people who are strongly considering cedar as a fence material. 

Knowing the pros and cons of each type of wood type will help to make an informed decision when choosing the fence and fence company that fits your needs. 


 

Topics: Fence Design, Specifications, Specialty Fence, Homeowners Association, backyard Fence, Fence Maintenance, cedar fence, codes, wooden fence, wood privacy fence, pressure treated fence, wood fence, cedar privacy fence, cedar wood fence, Pressure Treated Wood Fence, Reasons for Privacy Fence

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