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Electric fences approved in Medford

Non-lethal electric fencing will be allowed in heavy commercial and industrial zones in Medford and could help protect pot processing facilities in the future, the City Council decided Thursday.

Previously the city allowed electric fencing for livestock, but has prohibited it in other locations since the 1980s, citing public health concerns as well as aesthetic issues.

The newer electric fencing is single-strand wire and can be tied into alarm systems.

“These are non-lethal fences,” said Chris Reising, deputy city manager.

In 2013, a local fencing contractor approached the city about installing electric fencing around a storage yard. That triggered further review by the city, which led to the ordinance change.

Reising said allowing electric fences also could help in the future as the city looks at approving other types of “commodities,” an oblique reference to the city’s ongoing debate over whether to allow marijuana-production facilities.

Under the new ordinance, a separation of no less than 12 inches will have to be maintained between the electric fencing and the surrounding non-electric fence or wall.

Signs will have to be installed to alert people that there is an electric fence on the property.

The Medford fire marshal will approve the access points that emergency crews can use on a property.

A permit will be required to install an electric fence, and a separate permit will be required if the electric fence triggers an alarm system.

Electric fences cannot be taller than non-electric fences that are permitted on the property.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow on Twitter at @reporterdm.