Linwood board mulls pool safety

Amy Doeun
Linwood Reporter

At the April 25 meeting of the Linwood Town Board, Town Attorney Bob Ruppe answered questions about two of the three proposed new ordinances the town is considering.

For its third ordinance, related to firearm use, Ruppe had not had the opportunity to review the ordinance and was scheduled to address the topic at the board’s May 9 meeting (after press time).

Rental housing

Related to proposed changes to the town’s rental housing regulations, Ruppe said that the question the city should start with is “What is the threshold where you want to start regulating?”

“We didn’t want to get the person that was fixing up the basement and renting it out (to have a lot of regulations),” building official Mike Jungbauer said. “I tried to get the next threshold above that.”

The ordinance requires properties with one to four bedrooms that are not owner occupied to apply for a rental license. The Town Board was split on how much regulation should be required in this regard.

“Any non-owner occupied would be subject to it,” Supervisor Mike Halliday said.

“I don’t think we want to get to the place where we are regulating people renting out bedrooms,” Supervisor Mike Halliday said. “I think that would be a logistical nightmare. But we need to start somewhere.”

Supervisor Ed Kramer added that parking is another issue.

“I think that we should say something about parking,” he said. “We don’t want five different people living there with five different cars and parking on the road.”

Ruppe will do a final review of the rental property ordinance and make additions as suggested by the Town Board.

Pool ordinance

Amanda Anderson is a concerned resident who urged the Town Board to consider a pool ordinance. Anderson said her interest in this issue resulted from a family tragedy.

“My family dog drowned in a neighboring pool,” she said. The pool was in the ground on a neighbor’s property without a fence. She said she was thankful no children had drowned yet, but she thought it was likely just a matter of time without some safety standards.

Anderson used Google Earth to locate 60 pools in Linwood Township.

“Most have taken the opportunity to ensure their neighbors’ safety,” she told the board. “But there are many more that don’t have proper fencing, and there is no saying that those that have it will maintain fencing. … I asked for this last year. I am requesting that Linwood adopt this. I was turned down last year, I believe, because of lack of resources. I hope that I can be the voice that saves a child from drowning.”

Halliday said Anderson made some good points.

“We did discuss this last year and it went to planning and zoning and whether or not we will go after existing pools,” he said. “Most surrounding communities already have an ordinance. It is commonplace to have something. Me, personally, I think that is good going forward. We were also trying to leave it to insurance policies. I have an insurance background. Most policies won’t allow a pool unless there is proper fencing, but that doesn’t mean people won’t just put it in.”

Jungbauer said that until 2006, the state had a pool code that required fencing and a locking gate.

The proposed ordinance would require pools to have a fence and locking gate. Anderson urged the town to include existing pools in the ordinance. For most of her proposed ordinance, she used neighboring towns’ existing ordinances.

“I don’t know how to write an ordinance, but I know how to copy and paste,” she said. “I really want to push for the existing pools. I know that is a pain. Most have them, but I live right next door to a pool that doesn’t and my parents do (as well).”

The Town Board was set to review the ordinance at its May 9 meeting.