MAPLE PARK – Purchasing and setting up temporary pools is easier and more affordable than ever, but could be creating a safety hazard in the village of Maple Park while also confusing homeowners.
Since these pools aren’t permanent, but generally constructed at the beginning of the summer season and removed as the weather begins to turn, there has been debate about whether they should be subject to the same building review process as permanent above-ground and inground pools in Maple Park.
“We’re doing an advisory to the planning commission,” said Kathy Curtis, president of the village of Maple Park, during the monthly board meeting Jan. 7. “I do think our pool regulations could use, I can’t think of a word, embellishment, be more user friendly and a little less arguable.”
Although outdoor swimming season is still several months away, homeowners have expressed frustration in understanding the permit requirements associated with installing a pool.
“In order to increase transparency and homeowner awareness, a suggestion was made to move all pool-related ordinances into one section,” said Dawn Wucki-Rossback, village administrator for the village of Maple Park. “The planning commission should take a look at it. There is an opinion of some of the board members that classification with temporary pools should be removed from consideration of that so we’ll take a look.”
Trustee Christian Rebone voiced his concerns about how temporary pools would be classified by the planning commission.
“I don’t have the utmost faith that it’s going to come back as clean, as temp pools aren’t its own classification, and caveats that can seep their way into it,” he said.
While a lot goes into getting a permanent pool installed on one’s property, all it takes for a temporary pool is the kids pleading that it’s too hot to go outside in order to convince their parents to make a trip to the store and then some helping hands to install and/or inflate, and a garden hose.
“From a safety standpoint, I would rather have the discussion before a child drowns in a temporary pool then for us to be sitting here saying what could we have done to save a child,” Trustee J.P. Dries said. “That’s the only thing I look at from a safety point and I’m not trying to be heavy-handed to residents.”
Trustee Jen Ward reminded her colleagues that there’s an easily accessible pond in town, but nothing in the municipal code about it.
“We have the pond that is completely unregulated,” she said. “There is no barrier whatsoever. Kids are playing over there constantly. No one has drowned yet and it looks like a big pool.”
Ward’s biggest question concerns liability, wondering if “we’re leaving ourselves open to litigation if we do not include the temporary pools in our code?”
“I would not give you that opinion,” said Kevin Buick, village attorney for the village of Maple Park. “That said, those are the determinations that you, in a role in governance, can make. It’s common sense is what I would suggest, so look at these regulations and do the best you can to regulate as far as you need to and let it go. That would be my recommendation.”
The planning commission is scheduled to meet Jan. 16.