Fayette votes to repeal pool fence law 7.29.09

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Fayette council members voted 4-1 Thursday to repeal the village ordinance regarding fences around private swimming pools. Ruth Marlatt cast the lone dissenting vote.

 The issue next goes to the zoning board for a  public hearing. After than, council would need to pass an ordinance for repeal.

Council member Jerry Gonzales stated at the July 9 meeting that he would introduce the motion in order to reduce the village’s liability. The law either needs to be enforced or removed, he said, and his preference is to remove it rather than getting involved in a private property issue.

At the July 9 meeting, Gonzales thought there might be a state law requiring fences, but he later learned that it applies only to public pools.

“Homeowners insurance sets the standard [for private pools],” he said Thursday.

Many insurance companies demand that a customer place a fence around a pool, and that’s how it should be, Gonzales said—strictly an issue between a homeowner and the insurer.

“As a public entity,” countered village administrator Amy Metz, “our responsibility to protect the health and safety of our community members.”

If the fence law were to be repealed, she urged councilors to at least leave the language requiring setbacks from property lines.

Paul Shaffer said most of the disagreement he’s heard about repealing the law comes from those who have already complied and installed a fence. They don’t think it’s fair to just take it off the books, he said.

In that case, said councilor Julia Ruger, at least they have the peace of mind to know their pool is surrounded by a fence. However, she added, even a fence isn’t going to keep someone out if they really want to get into the pool.

POULTRY—At the July 21 zoning board meeting, Diana Gonzales asked about repealing the portion of a 2001 animal ordinance that pertains to poultry. She suggested that poultry should be allowed for 4-H projects and for laying hens.

Her husband, council member Jerry Gonzales, proposed allowing a maximum of six native birds housed in a structure at least 10 feet from a property line. Calling birds would not be appropriate, he said, noting that no one would want to live next to a rooster.

Metz said the Fulton County Health Department has concerns about poultry attracting raccoons and foxes; about poultry carrying diseases that could be harmful to humans; about odor complaints and the need for routine waste removal.

Zoning board member Rodney Kessler spoke about turkeys also being allowed for 4-H projects, and said those birds have fewer noise and odor problems than some people’s dogs.

Metz suggested that a conditional use permit process could be used. This would allow the board to consider the merits of each application.

RESIGNATIONS—Eugene Rosinski resigned from the village tree commission and Jim Bacon resigned from the zoning board.

PAINTING—Metz said the painting of several village buildings is being done by volunteers from a youth group.

FINANCES—A finance committee report noted the village general fund revenue is down about $70,000 from this time a year ago.

Residential vacancies appear to stand at about 11 percent, based on review of utility accounts. Metz expects that number to increase due to “bad publicity” from newspaper accounts on the contamination and school relocation issue.

The committee recommends delaying leaf and brush collection until 2010, pending a financial analysis.

Police chief Jason Simon is investigating the purchase of a new cruiser.

CEMETERY—The Pleasant View Union Cemetery board approved changes in the size and cost of footers for grave monuments. The cost is now $200 for a single monument and $400 for a companion marker.

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