The right definition of a conforming residential pool was the highlight of the Rush City Council meeting on June 28.

Members of the council and City Administrator Amy Mell discussed if they should measure the volume of the pool or scale its exterior facade.

The council approved a motion to see what the city’s Planning Commission thinks about measuring the exterior of the pool for determining whether it conforms with city ordinance. Also part of the motion was to give residents with pools exceeding a 5,000-gallon capacity and don’t have a fence around them a grace period until the city hears back from the Planning Commission.

“So we send it back to the Planning Commission, because that’s kind of their area of expertise is the zoning ordinance,” Mell said. “To see if they want to change it and change it instead of surface area, change it to capacity. Because then it doesn’t matter what the surface area is. A pool holds a certain amount of water.”

City ordinance for pools and spas

According to the zoning ordinance regarding residential pools and spas, it states: “Residential swimming pools shall be defined as any constructed pool, permanent or portable, which is intended for non-commercial use as a swimming pool by the owner’s family and their guests and which is over 24 inches in depth and has a surface area exceeding 200 square feet.”

The requirements of a conforming construction of such pool and spa include: “Pools and spas shall not be located beneath utility lines or over underground utility lines of any time. No person shall build, situate or install a pool or spa within 10 feet of any side or rear lot line, or within any required front yard. While being constructed, the pool or spa must be fenced with a portable fence, such as snow fence, of not less than four feet in height.”

More information on the right fencing for such pool and spa includes: “All outdoor pools hereafter constructed shall be completely enclosed by a fence or wall of the non-climbing type so as to be impenetrable by toddlers, shall not include external handholds and shall be a minimum of four feet in height. All outdoor fence opening or outdoor point of entry into the pool area shall be equipped with self-closing and self-latching devices. The openings between the bottom of the fence and the ground or other surface shall not be more than three inches.”

As for permits, “No person shall construct, alter or renovate a pool or spa without a zoning permit,” the ordinance explained.

“Right now we don’t even have a fee for the permit,” Mell said. “Unless you need a building, and that’s set by the state. If it’s over 24 inches tall, and over 5,000-gallon capacity, you’re supposed to get a building permit.”

Mell believes some people are using pools and spas in their yard without a permit.

“I think most people don’t think of that,” she said.

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