The city’s planning commission has placed on hold talks to require fencing around temporary pools.
The discussion of regulating temporary, including small inflatable tube pools, was generated by complaints from some residents who say that some pools are not safe because there is no fencing around them, and unsupervised children could get into the pools and drown.
The city had discussed requiring fences around some inflatable pools in the past, but never took action on the proposed changes.
The planning and zoning board began discussing fence requirements again after a 2-year-old girl drowned in a neighbor’s inflatable pool in 2012.
City Administrator Russell Rost Monday night said some communities require fencing on any pool with the capacity to hold at least 24 inches of water.
“Some of them aren’t even 2 feet deep,” said Alderman Bob Schmuke. “It only takes 6-8 inches of water (for a child to drown).”
Planning board member John Allen asked if a new regulation also would require fountains, with a similar capacity, to be fenced.
“I don’t think businesses would want that,” Allen said.
Rost noted that the planning board members should consider extending any pool requirements to include fountains.
“There is reason to consider regulating them,” he said. “A hot tub is just as dangerous.”
Allen also questioned if small pools would be allowed in residents’ front yards because fences are restricted in the front of homes.
City Engineer Jonathan Zimmermann said the committee does not have to make a decision now on pool requirements.
“The pool season, for all intents and purposes, is over,” he said. “We have time to discuss this.”
According to Rost, all above-ground pools would be included in the fencing requirement, even those that are not disssembled each year.
He explained that above ground pools are considered temporary because they can be taken down.
Planning board member Sarah Lackey, who is a property adjuster at Liberty Mutual Insurance, said insurance companies requires homeowners with pools to follow safety measures.
She noted that anything 2 feet deep requires an underwriting referral.
It was asked if ponds, or the city lake, also would requires fencing because they have the capacity to be more than 2 feet deep.
Lackey added that the city could use the term “bodies of water” and that would also include ponds and lakes.
Mayor Mike Livengood said the fencing requirement is for the safety of children.
“We shouldn’t be trying to reinvent the wheel,” he said. “We need to focus on pools.”