BZA Tackles –
Swimming Pool Fence - Liable & Safety Issues!
By: Pat Hunter
June 22, 2008
At the June 17th Loudon County Board of Zoning Appeal’s meeting, a request was made by a homeowner, to consider approval of a variance to have no fence around a swimming pool at 200 Beals Landing Lane. Being liable and safety issues were the topic of discussion when a homeowner requested a variance not to have a fence around her swimming pool.
Chairman Charles Harrison started off by asking if (building) codes called for a fence; Building Inspector Cox replied that a zoning resolution required a fence not a building code. It also looked like zoning regulations were not being enforced and perhaps permits were not obtained when certain swimming pools were constructed as shown in some pictures viewed by BZA members.
Ms. Gilreath, property owner handed out additional information to the BZA including pictures of her own property and several pages of other properties located on Ft. Loudon Lake with pools but no fences. The properties were located on either side of her property and some were not located in subdivisions while some were. Some locations of swimming pools without fences included Miller’s Landing, ConKinnon, Ft. Loudon Estates and Twin Coves.
She described her property as 19.9 acres and her pool was located 102 feet from the lake. Her home was 910 from the road but there was a fence about 200 feet from the Beals Chapel Subdivision. On the opposite side oh her property was a wooded lot and the owner did not intend to build after the home burned down. The Homeowner’s insurance carrier did not have a problem with no fence being installed around the pool and there would be no increase to the homeowners insurance so with that bit of information, she then respectfully requested a variance from the BZA not to require a fence.
Chairman Charles Harrison spoke about swimming pools being fenced. He knew of a 3 foot fence around a swimming pool and he relayed a personal story about the installation of a fence around his son’s pool. He referred to a pool without a fence as an “attractive nuisance.” Once more, Chairman Harrison asked Bill Cox, Building and Codes Inspector, do codes require a fence around a pool and Cox replied “no” but the zoning regulations do. According to planner Newman’s assistant and BZA member Roy Brooks, the zoning regulation requires a fence not less than 5 ft., which was adopted on 06.04.2002.
I think you have a real complaint because this regulation is not being enforced but as a body the BZA could not sanction your request, BZA Board member Martin Brown commented. Brown said that he was “appalled” at the number of properties that did not have fences around their pools.
BZA members felt that the body could not go along with Ms. Gilreath’s request because of the liability issue, and if something happened on her property the County could also be named as a party to possible negligence and liable issues. There’s no way that the could go along with this, BZA members echoed. The BZA voted unanimously to deny her request for the variance.
Ms. Gilreath asked but if I had not applied for the variance; it looks like the BZA and County would not have known nor done anything about it, it would seem?
BZA members requested that the Building Codes and zoning look into the matter of other property owners not having fences around their respective swimming pools. Expect a visit or letter in the mail from Loudon County if you are a pool owner without a fence as the pictures showed!
BZA Roy Brooks (l) Martin Brown, Charles Harrison (m) Planner Russ Newman, Debbie Hines administrative Asst.,
Not pictured Ms. Terry BZA