Fences and Retaining Walls

All fences and walls must be approved by the City concerning clearances required for fire hydrants, gas and water valves, and utility boxes.

Encroachment Permit Required:

An encroachment permit must to be obtained from the Daly City Public Works Engineering Division if a fence or retaining wall is to be constructed over a City easement or in the street right-of-way. The City street right-of- way normally includes a strip of lawn behind the sidewalk four-and-one-half feet (4 1/2') wide, but may be between zero and twelve feet (12') from the back of the sidewalk. This area typically contains utilities such as water and sewer lines.

Fences or retaining walls constructed in easements or street right of way may be removed and replaced at the owner's expense in order to gain access to these utilities. This removal and replacement applies to construction by the property owner in easements located on the front, side and/or rear of the property without the required permits.


Fences in all zoning districts shall not exceed six feet (6') in height in side and rear yards and shall not exceed three feet (3') in height in any required front yard or within thirty-five feet (35') of the street corner on any corner lot.

The fence height is determined by measuring from the highest ground level adjoining the fence on either side (DCMC 17.40.020).

The construction and installation of fences less than six feet (6') high do not require a building permit.

Retaining walls:

The difference between a fence and a retaining wall is that a retaining wall supports the load of adjoining soil and/or adjoining structures or hillsides. A fence supports only itself.

Retaining walls less than forty-two inches (42") in height may be constructed of wood, provided:

  1. They sustain no loads other than adjoining earth.
  2. They are constructed of pressure treated lumber or species naturally resistant to decay.

Retaining walls greater than forty-two inches (42") in height must be designed by a licensed architect or engineer, and three (3) sets of plans are required to be submitted for construction permit (DCMC 15.08.160). The height of a retaining wall is measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall.


For retaining wall requirements contact the Building Division at (650) 991-8061

For additional information on fences contact the Planning Division at (650) 991-8033.

For information on clearances, encroachment permits, easement or right-of-way issues, contact the Engineering Division at (650) 991-8064.

For enforcement concerning fences that violate any of these provisions, contact the Building Division at (650) 991-8061.