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Thread: Electric fences

  1. #1

    Electric fences

    I have been confounded by requests before, but this was a new one that I did not expect: An applicant within an R-2 district (allows 1-acre subdivision lots in unincorporated areas of rural county wants to install an electric fence (220-v) at the property line. There is nothing in the zoning or building codes that specifically govern an electrified fence.

    I recommended opposition due to the public endangerment created by the electric fence even though the applicant may place signs stating the danger. A house on an adjacent lot may have occupants with children or grandchildren under the age of five, and the warning signs may not be readable at night or may be difficult to read.

    Has anyone else dealt with this problem? I hope to provide a response soon.

    J.Ford

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Why does he want the fence? To keep his cattle penned in?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Check with other local ordinances too in case it can be denied under any other local public safety law. It doesn't seem like a zoning issue to me.

  4. #4
         
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    If your zoning doesn't address it your are right to look at it as life safety issue. A 220v charge can kill someone. Its a unreasonable hazzard to have at or near a commom property line or right-of-way. The only place I have found these types of higher voltage fences was well within a large cattle feedlot that only employees had access to. A reasonable person familiar with typical electric fences would not expect a fatal shock from a fence. Ask your building inspector if the electrical code would prohibit it without additional barriers and insultation. I would not sign any permit that would allow such a fence! If a neighbor tried to do this next to me I would tap into it and run his electric bill sky-high.

  5. #5
    I am still waiting on more input from the applicant regarding the purpose of the electric fence. We have asked for a detailed explanation why the fence needs to be elecrified, and why it should be located in a residential subdivision.

    The zoning process was the first step of the development process that required the applicant to identify his plans and it was the first point at which we heard about the plans to electrify the fence. We are going through the zoning code and the subdivision regulations to see if we should deny the application for any other reasons, including permitted uses, procedures, design/construction standards, and other requirements, and we will and other public safety laws or inconsistencies in the County. However, we would like to address the issue before the applicant gets too far along in the process. The provisions of the zoning ordinance to protect the health, safety and welfare of the community seem to apply because a normal fence can be considered as "accessory structure" consistent with the residential land use, whereas the "electric" fence is out of place and consititutes a hazard.

    Thanks for the input

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