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Local News

Attorney OKs plan to remove Joliet ban on electric fences

Proposal goes to plan commission in November

FedEx Freight, in the CenterPoint Business Center, has asked Joliet to change its zoning ordinances to allow electric fences.
FedEx Freight, in the CenterPoint Business Center, has asked Joliet to change its zoning ordinances to allow electric fences.

A zoning amendment allowing electric fences is moving forward after Joliet’s city attorney determined there would be no legal problem limiting them to industrial areas.

The city for months has looked at lifting its ban on electric fences. But two council members – Larry Hug and Jan Quillman – have questioned whether Joliet could allow them in some business areas and not others without being vulnerable to lawsuits.

The proposal will go to the city’s Plan Commission in November and eventually to the City Council for a vote.

City staff have proposed that electric fences be allowed with special use permits in areas zoned for industrial and intermodal business.

“The city’s corporation counsel has indicated that the draft ordinance does not discriminate among different types of businesses that may apply for such a special use permit, but rather specifies which zoning districts allow for such special use permits,” a staff memo on the proposal states.

Joliet now bans electric fences.

The city has reconsidered the ban in light of a request from FedEx Freight to use an electric fence for security at the storage and distribution operation it opened in May in the CenterPoint Business Center.

Joliet director of planning Michael Schwarz told the City Council’s Land Use and Legislative Committee last week that the city has not heard interest in electric fences outside of industrial areas.

“We’ve not received any requests from Jefferson Street or Houbolt,” Schwarz said, giving examples of areas with retail and office space.

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