Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

March 7, 2013

Peru cracks down on unsightly fences

Towing business requests fence built from semi trailers.

By Carson Gerber
Tribune staff writer

— PERU — As the saying goes, good fences make good neighbors, and Peru officials are taking that motto seriously.

Peru City Council Monday passed a resolution banning a seemingly random selection of fence materials people can use inside city limits in an effort to deter unsightly property barriers.

The resolution states it is unacceptable to construct a fence out of things like cars, trucks, lawn mowers, tractors, boats, dumpsters, utility poles, garage doors, tires, wood pallets and a slew of other materials.

Peru Mayor Jim Walker said the city decided to update its fence ordinance after a local towing company said it wanted to build a fence out of semi trailers on its property.

“That’s not the kind of look we want here in our city,” he said.

The previous ordinance defined a fence simply as a barrier, which would have allowed the company to build the trailer fence.

Walker said the ordinance was vague and ambiguous, and the city wanted clearly defined guidelines for industry, business and residents to follow when constructing a fence.

“This is about local government trying to protect the community and the impression we make on people coming into town,” he said.

Councilman Steve Gough pointed out Monday the ordinance grew from one sentence to three pages of detailed building requirements.

“In this day and age, you pretty much have to go overboard to cover yourself,” Walker responded.  “If you don’t mention every little detail, people will say ‘Well, you didn’t say I couldn’t do this.’ We weren’t trying to make it a heavy ordinance, but we do want it clearly defined so there aren’t any questions.”

The ordinance also bans wire, razor wire or spiked poles on any fences within residential areas.

Walker said the resolution will now go before the Peru Planning Commission for approval and come back to city council next month for a final vote.

He also said residents and businesses can request permission from the plan commission to build fences that fall outside the new building requirements.

Carson Gerber is a Kokomo Tribune reporter. He may be reached at 765-854-6739, or by email at carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com.