by Nicole Brodzik
After a split vote turned down the option in 2014, last week the Mound City Council approved an amendment allowing for homeowners with a pool to use automated pool covers as an alternative to a fence.
The previous regulation requires between a five and six foot tall fence surrounding any new pool structures. The amendment started as an application by Mound resident Troy Koopman that was reviewed by the Mound Planning Commission.
“The planning commission undertook a review of a similar amendment in 2014,” Community Development Director Sarah Smith said. “Our review was similar to what we did in 2014 as the standards for pool covers have not changed. We did solicit review and input by building officials and the fire chief and they had no concerns.”
The city held a public hearing where Koopman was on hand to explain his situation and why he felt the retractable cover was a good option.
“In talking with (Smith),I know this was brought in front of you in 2014,” he said. “I’m going to get a cover anyway. but with the hill slide in my yard, it’s not convenient for me to have a fence.”
Koopman also said that an expert told him that no local cities who have similar amendments have retracted them.
“I just personally feel it’s much safer than a fence,” he said. “I want to be able to leave, whether it’s just to go to work or on a vacation, and not worry about some kid climbing over the fence and getting in the pool.”
Councilmember Kelli Gillespie asked about how durable the covers were and how long they usually last.
“I know from a relative in Minnetrista, we’ve have like eight adults standing on the thing,” Koopman said. “But I’m not sure about longevity.”
The council then closed the hearing and discussed their next moves.
“This is one of those arguments where you can pick and choose which is safer,” Mayor Mark Wegschied said. “Your point about being able to lock this in your absence is a solid argument. I think this is acceptable, a lot of the other communities are doing this.”
Councilmemeber Ray Salazar agreed with the mayor.
“We’re a lake community and we don’t have a fence around the lake, so any child, adult or otherwise can walk into the lake too,” he said. “I’m familiar with these covers. They will hold a baby elephant, honestly, and not rip or tear.”
The council then voted unanimously to approve the amendment.
Next up, was approving permits to allow the fourth annual Running of the Bays half marathon and 5k on Sept. 9. As Wegschied is a coordinator for the event, he recused himself from the votes.
The council approved a public gathering and a musical concert permit for the day of the event, which were needed to ensure space at the start and end points of both the half marathon and 5k.
The half marathon race will head out from Grandview Middle School at 7:30 a.m. on Sept. 9 and the 5k racers will line up behind them and head out immediately after.
The next Mound City Council meeting will be held on Aug. 22 at 7 p.m.