Fences measuring 3.5' to 6' in height in a front yard require a Zoning Permit. See below for a list of exemptions and application and permit requirements.

Date Posted: November 17th, 2020 @ 4:38 PM
Last Updated: June 24th, 2021 @ 2:40 PM

When Are Permits Required?

Icon image of fence

Fences measuring 3.5' to 6' in height in a front yard require a Zoning Permit and must be at least 60% transparent. Fences over 6' in residential front yards are NOT permitted. Wood and metal fences over 7' require a Building Permit. Fences made of other materials may also require a Building Permit depending on their height. Also, retaining walls over 6' require a Zoning Permit and those over 3’ require a Building Permit.

Please review page 60 of our Design Review Manual for design guidelines. As indicated in the manual, if other fences on the same side of the block are pushed back 18" from the sidewalk, please match that distance for consistency.

In commercial and industrial zones, fences may be allowed up to 8' in height or in some cases up to 10' in height, and require Zoning Review. Some fences between 8 and 10' may also require a Zoning Permit.


For residential properties, the following fences do NOT require a Zoning Permit:

  • Fences measuring up to 3.5' (42”) tall in a front yard
  • Fences measuring up to 8' tall in a side yard or backyard

For commercial and industrial zones, fences under 8' do NOT require a Zoning Permit, but do require Zoning Review.

Who Can Be Issued a Permit?

  1. Contractors who are licensed by the State of California with a classification appropriate for the work that will be performed and have a current Business Tax Certificate.
  2. Owners of a building or their legal representative.

How to Apply


Complete the Basic Application for Development Review (select “Small Project Design Review” or “DS-1” under the "Development Permits" list on the application) Be sure to include a photo of the yard, a site plan — with property lines, building footprints, and proposed fence location — along with elevations to scale for design and size.

As noted above, wooden and metal fences over 7' and retaining walls over 3' also require you to complete a Building Permit Application Worksheet.

Once complete, e-mail your completed application form(s) and all associated plans and documents to permitInfo@oaklandca.gov or via our Digital Inbox for applications over 20MB.


Once we receive your application, staff will review your documents for completeness. Planning review can take up to 2 weeks. If further information is needed, a planner will contact you at the email address provided.


Call (510) 238-3911 or find quick answers through our Permit Questions Portal.

Additional Resources