Dayton reconsiders swimming pool safety structures ordinance

By Megan Hopps
megan.hopps@ecm-inc.com

The Dayton City Council met last week to reevaluate an ordinance as it pertains to the safety of residential swimming pools.
The current ordinance requires residents interested in constructing a pool to also construct a 4 foot fence enclosure as part of those plans. City Administrator Tina Goodroad said she’s received a few requests from Dayton residents requesting an automatic pool cover enclosure to take the place of the fence.
“Numerous cities allow for the choice between a fence or automatic pool cover as an appropriate alternative,” City Administrator Tina Goodroad said.
If approved, all residential pool covers would have to meet the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards. Approved pool covers can hold up to 450 pounds and can secure the pool within 45 seconds.
The item in question called for a public hearing. Mayor Tim McNeil opened the public hearing and no one spoke before the council on the proposed ordinance change. The mayor closed the public hearing and allowed for council deliberation before the vote.
“I don’t agree with this,” said Councilor Bob O’Brien. “Every time someone walks away from the pool, they’re not going to close the pool cover. It’s one thing when you’ve got lots of land, but it’s another when you’re living in close proximity to your neighbors. If a parent needs to run into the house, they’re not going to close that pool cover. If you’ve got a fence at least the gate is closed.”
Councilor Rick Shermer brought up a potential scenario where, even if a resident secures their pool with a fence, someone can always jump the fence and swim in the pool.
“Well at least then they’re big enough so they can swim,” O’Brien said.
“Yeah, if they’re not drinking,” said Councilor Jon Mellberg. “I think, in the end, you need to trust that whoever the supervisors are they’re doing their job.”
Mayor McNeil agreed.
“We can’t be a nanny state,” McNeil said. “I agree with Bob in concept, but if we regulate things based on the worst case scenario we would make so many ordinances where nothing would be feasible. So from that perspective, I think if other cities are doing this and this meets the ASTM standards and we’re giving residents options, I don’t see a problem with that.”
The council passed the ordinance change unanimously by a 4-0 vote. Councilor Anne Ziebell was not present at the meeting.