December 12, 2016

Utility setback ordinance deemed problematic

By Kate Johnson

The County Planning and Zoning Commission took up another conversation on whether ordinances on minimum setbacks for laying utility lines is a good idea. Mercer County State’s Attorney Jessica Binder was present for the second round of conversation on the topic, and was there to say she believed it would be something that would be difficult to enforce and hard to articulate.
The previous discussion had by the commission centered around an ordinance written so that if there is a fence, utilities couldn’t be laid within 30 ft. of that fence. However, if there is no fence, a utility would have to be laid 30 ft. from the section line or highway.  
Binder’s issue was that not all fences are lawfully placed. There are fences throughout rural Mercer County that haven’t been surveyed and placed in the correct locations.
“Trying to enforce something like this, if we could articulate it, I just don’t think it’s feasible,” said Binder.
Commission Chairman Troy Sailer blatantly disagreed with Binder’s opinions.
“I disagree. I think you can articulate it pretty easily: it there’s a fence and a power line is paralleling it or phone line, water line, gas line, or whatever, it’s got to be 30 ft. away from the fence,” said Sailer.


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