The Santa Barbara City Council inched forward with language approving a new hedge height ordinance to allow higher front and side yard hedges and allowing city staff more discretion to approve exceptions based on circumstances specific to the property in question.

The council action came three days after the city’s six-year moratorium on hedge height enforcement expired, which otherwise would have meant a return to rules and regulations governing hedge heights, fence heights, and wall heights first approved in 1957. The moratorium was enacted after one Riviera resident cited for violating the hedge height ordinance retaliated by filing 25 similar complaints against her neighbors, who she contended were just as guilty as she.

Under the new rules, side yard hedges are legal up to eight feet, but staff has discretion to allow another six feet if the neighbors agree. Front yard hedges will be limited to eight feet as well, but with less discretion for exceptions.


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