Memo-07-09-2019-Item-11

DATE:                   July 9, 2019

TO:                         Matt Zapp., Town Manager

FROM:                   Josh Edmondson, CZO, Town Planner

SUBJECT:           Proposed Amendment to Chapters 5 Density, Intensity and Dimensional Standards, Section 5.2.1-Accessory Building/Swimming Pool (1) (A) of the Unified Development Ordinance to Reduce the Setback Requirements for Swimming Pools - (Summary & Suggested Motions)

Over the last several months, I have been discussing with the Planning Board inquiries received from property owners and pool contractors concerning relief from the setback requirements for swimming pools.  Over the last several years, swimming pools are becoming more desirable for rental housing units and full time/second homeowners.  It is very similar to the elevator situation we discussed about a year ago, in the sense of affordability now compared to prices years ago.  Also, with our heighten efforts to protect life during times of rip currents, property owners are looking to pools as a way to provide safe recreation opportunities for their guest.

Our current setback regulations require all accessory structures including swimming pools to meet the setbacks required of the primary structure.  In our residential districts, this is a 30’ front setback, 10’ or 15’ side setback and a 15’ rear setback.  Staff researched and compared our setback requirements to other municipalities and found many municipalities have setback reductions for swimming pools compared to that of the primary structure on the property.  We have attached these as examples for review.  Most of the have a 5’ setback for swimming pools with some variations based on the height above grade of the swimming pool. 

As we look at the proposed amendment, I think it important to note a few items.  First, there will be no visual impact or encroachment to adjacent owners.  Fences are required around swimming pools at a minimum height of 48”.  This is a code requirement in the NC Building Code.  The Town does not have a setback requirements for fencing on properties meaning placement can be along or on the property line, whether or not a pool is on the property.  Secondly, pool equipment is already allowed to encroach in the setbacks.  Lastly, the new setback will not negate the fact that all other requirements of the Unified Development Ordinance must be met.  

Please see below the current requirement and proposed amendment to the ordinance:

(1)

In all Zoning Districts

  1. No accessory building shall be erected in any setback or required yards.

    No swimming pool shall be erected in any setback or required yards. No masonry swimming pool shall be placed or constructed within the Coastal Area Management Act Ocean Erodible Setback area. Pools consisting of fiberglass construction shall be exempt from this prohibition.

    (1)

    In all Zoning Districts

           (A)  No accessory building shall be erected in any setback or required yards.

In-ground swimming pools must be setback five (5) feet from the side yard and five (5) feet from the rear yard and comply with the setback required for all zoning districts for the front yard.  No masonry swimming pool shall be placed or constructed within the Coastal Area Management Act Ocean Erodible Setback area. Pools consisting of fiberglass construction shall be exempt from this prohibition.

The Planning Board at their June meeting voted unanimously to approve the amendment to the pool setbacks.  Included with this memo is an excerpt containing other municipalities’ setback requirements concerning swimming pools and a resolution to amend the Unified Development Ordinance.  I look forward to discussing this with the Commissioners at their July 9, 2019 meeting.