Morrison may change city’s pool ordinance

No exemptions in Dixon’s regulations

MORRISON – Recently, the Morrison Police Department sent notices to 10 property owners whose swimming pools may violate city rules.

Meanwhile, Police Chief Brian Melton is seeking further clarification from the Morrison City Council on the city’s swimming pool ordinance.

The ordinance requires a pool with a depth of at least 31 inches be completely enclosed by a fence around the pool area. The fence must be 4 to 6 feet tall.

“I had one person [receiving a notice] who called back saying that it was his understanding that he was doing OK. He had a pool with 4-foot sides. He thought his pool was temporary, so he didn’t need a fence,” Melton told the council at a recent meeting.

The ordinance, the chief said, is vague, so the council may want to clarify the temporary-vs.-permanent issue.

“Is it for all swimming pools, temporary or not? Ultimately, we all want the same thing, preventing small children from going in and having a tragic accident,” Melton said.

In Rock Falls, temporary soft-sided pools are exempt, while 4-foot fences are required for all other pools.

Dixon makes no such exceptions.

Paul Shiaras, Dixon’s building official, said the rules apply to all pools that exceed 24 inches in depth.

Whether a pool is temporary or permanent, he said, “doesn’t affect someone drowning. The hazard is still the same.”

Morrison Mayor Everett Pannier asked Melton to check with other towns on how they handle such issues.

Melton said he was preparing a draft ordinance to present at the Aug. 12 City Council meeting.

“I’m taking from several different ordinances. There may be a lot of similarities between our ordinance and Rock Falls’. I like the setup in the Rock Falls ordinance,” he said.

The rules around the Sauk Valley

Here are the enclosure requirements for pools in the Sauk Valley's major jurisdictions:

Lee County

Five-foot fence required for pools. Above-ground pools at least 3 feet high are exempt. Ladders must be secured or removed when not in use. Gates must be lockable.

Whiteside County

No rules.

Dixon

Four-foot fences required for pools. Above-ground pools at least 4 feet high are exempt. Ladders must be secured or removed when not in use. Gates must be self-latching.

Rock Falls

Four-foot fences required for pools. Temporary soft-sided pools are exempt. Gates must be self-latching.

Sterling

Six-foot fences required for pools. Gates must be self-latching.

Morrison

Four- to 6-foot fences required for pools. All gates must be self-latching and made inaccessible.

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