Gardner council amends home pool ordinance

Language in the city’s residential swimming pool ordinance was amended at Monday night’s Gardner City Council meeting.

Dave Knopick, community development director, said it was an easy change.

“We recently had an inquiry about a swimming pool being placed in the backyard,” he said.

Knopick said as officials were reading through the ordinance they discovered some confusing language.

“What the language is attempting to do is it prevents swimming pools from being placed in side yards and properties,” he said.

The ordinance states a residential swimming pool should be placed behind the front building line and behind the back line and not less than 9 feet from any rear or side property line.

The city eliminated the portion pertaining to the muddy back line phrasing.

“With our setback requirements being 9 feet and 20 feet, those are not going to change,” Knopick said. “But simply with those two setbacks, most of our properties in Gardner are 5-foot and 7-foot setbacks, and our corner lots are 10-foot setbacks. So the number nine and 20 feet helps regulate to keep them out of side yards.”

Knopick said the issue came up because of pie-shaped lots at the end of cul-de-sacs, which have narrow backyards and significant side yards. A resident living in one of those lots requested placing a pool in either area of their yard.

Knopick said removing the “and behind the back line” phrase would clear up any confusion while still maintaining the city’s setback requirements and clarifying easements and rights of way.

Council member Mark Wiehn asked if the requirements applied to in-ground pools or above-ground pools.

Knopick said the amended ordinance applied to both types of residential swimming pools and included stipulations regarding easements, size and safety regulations.