Build Right on Fenceline

You are now able to build a new home right up to your property boundary or fence line. If you do not then you must space your dwelling at least 60 cm from that border. Presumably this is in support of the State’s current policy of better urban infill and denser residential development.

The 60 cm spacing is close to the old one yard limitation that made good sense given practical considerations relating to containing a fire in an adjacent property, fence repair, tree root interference, easements for pipes and cables and general access to a dwelling’s structure for maintenance access to plant like air conditioners. Immediately adjacent buildings were limited to commercial structures and semi-detached homes built at the one time when issues such as those listed above could be coordinated.

A much less satisfactory set of considerations arise when a neighbor builds a new home right up to the exact property boundary replacing a dwelling that did not.

Take sheds and garages – often built close to a back or side fence years ago and not always exactly parallel to that fence. When the new building goes in next door the gap is often a rather tight wedge shape perfect for jamming a small child or pet between the walls. How many sheds hold old paints, mower fuel, oily and greasy tools, old cardboard boxes holding all manner of potentially flammable possessions? With the gap between buildings gone, what chance is there to limit any conflagration and even to limit the chance of an ignition source next door?

Take pre-existing trees – roots are no respecter of above-ground fences and often anchor their structure beneath next door’s path or garden along a fence. Chop through those and which way do you thing that possibly 50 meter say 80 year old tree might topple?

Take sunlight and shadows – that sunny corner in your yard on a wintry afternoon may be no more, that dappled sunlight light on the curtains in a sitting room may become forever gloomy, the potted furns that thrived on the bathroom window sill despite a mere two yards to next door’s structure may no longer do so.

Take noise – not only does the reduced distance make our vulnerability to that greater but we are now more liable to have our sound complained about by now nearer neighbors. Indeed just as those, who build under an airport approach flight path that was already there, complain, new closer neighbors might well complain and even litigate on the basis of any of these consequences.

A yard can make all the difference and we learnt to live within its benefits and limitations. Now that has been taken away without due consideration, processes and mitigation for all the consequences and I for one am angry.


About adelaidepete

Now live in Adelaide South Australia and have always worked in Systems & Software Engineering. I am enjoying commenting on, suggesting and discussing innovative solutions to problems and useful risk mitigation strategies and recently interested in the realm of public policy re urban planning & disasters - the focus of this blog. I am interested in technology, gadgetry, enhancing productivity & functionality, urban planning, military thinking and public policy. I enjoyed periods I spent in USA (Reston, Virginia Beach & Dallas) & Europe (Germany, Spain, Italy & Greece) but genuinely love Australia, most people, animals, singing, dancing & life.
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