PLEASANT VIEW — Orchard owner Ron Jensen can continue to put up the 8-foot high agricultural fence he started to install around his orchards to keep deer from destroying his trees.
However, he will have to make changes in some areas, city council members say.
Jensen lives and farms at 3250 N. 1000 West and several of his neighbors have complained about the field fence he has been installing, claiming it could lower the value of their adjoining property.
Council members unanimously approved the fence, but said it can only be 6 feet high in front of the property where the home sits, and any 8-foot portions must be set back at least 30 feet from any public road. Jensen will have to take down or move some of the fence he has already installed, but he can leave the 8-foot fence in place where it runs along neighbors’ driveways and parts of his uniquely shaped orchard.
Originally Jensen came to the city to ask for a variance to put up the fence. He said deer have been destroying thousands of dollars worth of trees and hurting his income.
Community Development Director Bruce Talbot said the current fence ordinance needs some changes.
“There are no clear regulations regarding security fences,” Talbot said. “There is no procedure in our ordinance for appeals and asking for a variance in fencing. These are holes we need to mend.”
Talbot said in the past few weeks he has looked at fences all over the city. He said The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints fruit farm has a 6-foot fence around it and the Marriott Elk Ranch has an 8-foot fence around it.
He said the city staff has worked to come up with some kind of temporary solution to address Jensen’s need for a fence. Following the temporary solution, Talbot said the city needs to address the fence ordinance.
Talbot said he had looked at other cities’ ordinances regarding agricultural fences.
“By and large, they do what we do, and just ignore it. You can put up whatever you want,” Talbot said. “UDOT has a 5-foot field fence along 2700 North.”
Talbot said most cities do allow a variety of heights for fencing.
“All of us have a vision of what’s a good-looking fence,” Talbot said. “It’s different to every person — chain link, vinyl and field fencing are found in every community.”
Resident Art Bingham spoke to council members and pointed out that Jensen is probably the last full-time farmer living and working in Pleasant View and he should be able to protect his crops.
Bingham said he grew up in a small town in Idaho where neighbors try to help each other, and Jensen has helped him many times in learning how to care for his own trees.
“He (Jensen) has the opportunity to go other places to do his farming. He talked about going to Idaho. He is the last farmer in Pleasant View,” Bingham said. “We need to do all we can to keep his income up and his farm safe from deer.”
City Administrator Melinda Brimhall said the rules for Jensen’s fence would not be applied to fences already standing throughout the city.
Mayor Doug Clifford said right now the city just needs to address an immediate issue and the city ordinance on fences does need some work in the near future.