Council leans toward 4-foot pool fencing

John Rohlf/Clinton Herald Camanche Mayor Trevor Willis speaks at the Camanche City Council meeting Tuesday.

CAMANCHE — The Camanche City Council voiced support Tuesday for a 4-foot fencing requirement around swimming pools after considering a change to 6 feet last month.

Camanche City Administrator Andrew Kida said during Tuesday's city council meeting that in 2006 the city passed ordinance 676, changing the swimming pool fencing requirement from 6 feet to 4 feet. The ordinance did not allow residents to use the side of the swimming pool as part of the fence.

The city's current language came out of ordinance 719, which was the acceptance of the East Central Intergovernmental Association (ECIA) recodification, Kida said.

"In our discussions last time we talked about a 6-foot fence," Kida said. "We talked about grandfathering pools in that have a 4-foot fence.

"I gave you folks a recommendation," Kida said. "If we can just start the discussion there, is that we just go with a 4-foot fence and leave it at that the way ordinance 676 was written.

"If you wanted to add to that to say a 2-foot fence on top of the side of a swimming pool would be acceptable, then you wouldn't have to worry about grandfathering anybody in," Kida said.

The current ordinance states that outdoor swimming pools must be enclosed by a 4-foot fence. The ordinance requires that residents obtain building permits for both the swimming pool and the fence. Fencing must be of material and sufficient strength and anchoring to support 250 pounds of side pressure weight per 10 feet of length without collapsing.

The current ordinance allows the outside walls of the swimming pool to be used to meet the 4-foot fence requirement if a fence is attached to the swimming pool.

Kida said there are plenty of supportive pools already in the community with 2-foot fences on top of the pool. He said rather than grandfathering those fences in the city could continue to allow the 2-foot fences on top of the pool without a citizen having to put a fence around their entire backyard.

Camanche Mayor Trevor Willis suggested that if a citizen wants to use a 2-foot fence, the city should require it be on a 4-foot pool.

"The ones that have the 2-foot fence are 4-foot pools," Willis said. "You're not going to have a 2-foot pool with a 2-foot fence. So if the requirement's 4-foot we're not going to allow fence to be a part of that. The 2-foot pools won't hold 2 foot of fence anyway.

A 4-foot fence is the normal homeowner's insurance requirement, Willis said.

Councilman Brent Brightman said a 4-foot fencing requirement is feasible.

"For what it's worth I've researched this all weekend to try and find some kind of statistics that show child drowning by jumping the fence," Brightman said. "And there was absolutely nothing.

"The biggest statistic out there is unsupervised," Brightman said. "If it's 4-foot, 6-foot, 10-foot, it doesn't matter. So 4-foot I think is feasible."

The council said it will consider an ordinance at a future meeting to require a 4-foot fence with the condition that if citizens have 4-foot or taller pools they can add two feet of fencing around the top of the pool in lieu of a 4-foot fence around the yard.