Discover Portola Valley: A Serene Getaway in the Heart of California

Discover Portola Valley: A Serene Getaway in the Heart of California is a picturesque city located in the San Francisco Bay Area. The city boasts of natural beauty and tranquil surroundings, making it a perfect spot for people who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city life.

If you are planning to build a fence on your property in Portola Valley, it is essential to know the fence requirements set up by the city council. Fences are a crucial aspect of any property as they provide privacy, security, and aesthetic value. Knowing the regulations will help you avoid any fines or legal issues that may arise while building a fence.

In this article, we will discuss the fence requirements for the city of Portola Valley, California.

Fence Height Requirements

The height of fences in Portola Valley depends on the zone where the property is located. The zones are divided into three categories: residential, commercial, and industrial. The fence height requirements are as follows:

Residential Zones

Front Yard Fence: The maximum height of the front yard fence on residential properties is limited to two feet.

Side and Rear Yard Fence: The maximum height of side and rear yard fences in residential zones is six feet.

Corner Lots: For corner lots, fences should be limited to three feet in height within the first 25 feet of the property measured from the point where the two street lines intersect.

Commercial and Industrial Zones

The maximum height of fences on commercial and industrial properties is eight feet.

Fence Materials and Design Requirements

The city of Portola Valley has specific requirements for fence design and materials. These regulations are put in place to ensure that the fencing in the city remains in harmony with nature and the surroundings. The requirements are as follows:

Fencing Materials: Fencing materials must be made of natural materials that are in harmony with the natural environment. Wire, chain link, and other such materials are prohibited.

Fencing Design: Fence designs must be compatible with the architectural style of the building or the existing fencing in the surrounding area.

Fence Setback Requirements

Fences must be set back from the property line, ensuring that they do not encroach on the rights of the adjoining property owners. The setback distance differs depending on the type of fence being built.

Solid Fences: For solid fences, the setback distance from the property line has to be up to four feet. If the height of the fence exceeds four feet, additional setback requirements must be met, and the fence design must meet visibility requirements.

Open Fences: For open fences such as chain-link, the setback distance from the property line needs to be up to two feet.

Swimming Pool Fence Requirements

If you have a swimming pool on your property, Portola Valley has specific regulations that must be followed. Swimming pools must be enclosed by a fence that meets the following requirements:

The fence must be at least four feet in height.

The fence must not have any openings that exceed four inches in width.

The fence must be secured and latched at all times.

The gate of the fence must be self-closing and self-locking.

The FAQs Section

1. Do I need a permit to build a fence in Portola Valley?

If the fence is less than six feet in height and is made of natural materials such as wood, you do not require a permit. However, if the fence does not meet the regulations outlined above, or if it is higher than six feet, you may require a permit. It is best to contact the Building and Planning Department of Portola Valley to determine if a permit is necessary.

2. Can I build a fence on my property line?

Yes, you can build a fence on your property line; however, you must ensure the fence follows the setback requirements outlined above.

3. Can I build a fence in the front yard of my property?

Yes, you can build a fence in the front yard of your property. However, the maximum height of the front yard fence is restricted to two feet.

4. Do I need to get my neighbor’s permission before building a fence?

While you are not legally required to get your neighbor’s permission to build a fence on your property, it is courteous to inform them beforehand. This will prevent any disputes in the future.


Understanding the fence requirements for the city of Portola Valley is crucial for property owners. By following these regulations, you will be able to ensure that your fence is in compliance with the city laws. Additionally, building a fence that enhances the natural beauty of the city adds value to your property and makes the surroundings more appealing. If you have any questions or doubts, consult with the Building and Planning Department of the city before beginning your fencing project.

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