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Windham voters asked to rescind pool rules

WINDHAM — Town officials are asking voters’ support in rescinding the town’s 37-year-old swimming pool ordinance.

The article was unanimously supported by the Windham Board of Selectmen as well as town department heads and Building Inspector Mike McGuire.

According to Town Administrator David Sullivan, the town’s current ordinance was adopted in May 1977 and is now in conflict with the state building code.

The existing Windham swimming pool ordinance requires all outdoor swimming pools with a depth of 18 inches or more to be completely surrounded by a fence standing at least four-feet high and secured by a gate.

Above-ground pools with walls standing three-feet or higher are exempt from those rules, provided ladders and stairways are removed when the pool isn’t in use.

Enforcement of the ordinance is the responsibility of the town’s building inspector and residents found to be in noncompliance are subject to a $50 fine for each offense.

New Hampshire state law likewise requires a minimum of four feet of fencing around residential swimming pools, however that rule applies to both in-ground and above-ground pools as “a removable ladder shall not constitute an acceptable alternative to enclosure requirements.”

In addition, state law mandates that all new swimming pools be located within a safe distance from any other structures, and fencing cannot be placed next to sheds or other structures that children might be able to climb over and access the pool area.

Contacted Monday afternoon, McGuire said the existing town ordinance is “dated and antiquated” and his hope is that Windham will follow in the footsteps of other area communities in writing the law out of the books.

“(The town’s swimming pool ordinance) was written so long ago that it has become very out of sync with the times,” he said. “Today’s standards for built pools have changed tremendously over the years.”

Should the warrant article pass before voters this March, the town of Windham would no longer have a swimming pool ordinance of its own, leaving no more room for confusion when it comes to interpreting state vs. town law.

Enforcement of the rules would still be done locally, however, with the town’s building department tasked with enforcing state swimming pool safety requirements.

The Windham town deliberative session will take place Saturday, Feb. 8, in the Windham High School auditorium. The meeting will begin at 9

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