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Wrightstown, neighboring townships, consider changes to deer fence zoning rules


There could eventually be less bureaucracy involved in keeping deer away from crops, trees and the like on farms in the neighboring communities of Wrightstown, Upper Makefield and Newtown Township.

The topic came up at the Monday, Sept. 12 meeting of the Wrightstown Board of Supervisors.

Supervisor Chairman Chester Pogonowski said a local land use attorney has approached the three townships about considering a change to local zoning that would allow deer fencing to be up to nine feet high on the property lines of agricultural properties. The municipalities handle zoning collectively through a jointure.

“The zoning ordinance currently limits a fence to seven feet on a property line,” Pogonowski explained. “However, in order to protect crops from deer, a nine-foot fence is typically required.”

As such, property owners have to seek a variance from local zoning law in order to erect a nine-foot fence to guard against deer. That takes time and money as it requires applying for the variance, having zoning officials review the request and more.

Some property owners feel that’s an unnecessarily cumbersome process given the practicalities of deer fencing protection. The issue surfaced recently in the case of a property owner in Upper Makefield that wants to install deer fencing on their farm, Pogonowski said.

“The cost to fence the whole property at one time was prohibitive, which under current zoning rules would require the property owner to visit the Zoning Hearing Board numerous times until the fence is complete,” Pogonowski explained.

He added: “We have had a number of local requests on farmed/preserved properties to install similar fences to keep deer out of the crops.”

Wrightstown supervisors are taking the fencing request under consideration. They plan to discuss it at future work session meetings. Whether any zoning change occurs across Wrightstown, Upper Makefield and Newtown Township remains to be seen.

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