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Published: Wednesday, 4/11/2007

Deadlock stalls rule on fences for small pools


METAMORA - Stricter rules for swimming-pool fences are on hold for now, but only because of a 3-3 deadlock over a proposed zoning ordinance.

The Metamora village council's vote will at least temporarily block plans to enact rules for pools as small as 6 feet in diameter.

If approved, the proposed ordinance would require a fence at least 4 feet high around pools, including many new portable pools that are 6 feet or more in diameter and 24 inches deep or deeper.

Councilmen in favor of enacting the rules were Cheryl Geer, Ken Wysong, and Terri Robideau. Those opposed were Cathy Mossing, Tina Sullivan, and Barbara Georgia.

Mayor Gary Loar, who favors the proposed ordinance, could break the tie. But he held off from casting a vote Monday, he said, because he was uncertain whether it would be proper for the mayor to cast the deciding vote for an issue that had been brought up as an emergency measure.

Village Solicitor Alan Lehenbauer was not at the meeting and was not immediately available afterward.

The matter is expected to go back to the village zoning commission for further review this month.

Another proposal is likely to come before village council yet this spring, the mayor said.

For now, Metamora's code on swimming pools requires fences only if the pool is 12 feet in diameter or greater.

That's similar to the rules that have been in place for years in much of Fulton County, including Wauseon, the other villages, and the zoned townships, according to Steve Brown, county planning director.

Some areas require higher fences. Archbold's rule, for instance, calls for fences that are at least 5 feet high. But most do not address pools as small as those being considered in Metamora.

The village is not the only local area considering rules on pools that are half the size of those now covered by many zoning codes.

Wauseon leaders have been mulling over the matter as well, Mr. Brown said, since large portable pools became popular a couple of years ago.

Starting prices on such pools are about $100.

There are virtually no rules requiring fencing in Fulton County for ponds.

"No one's ever addressed it," Mr. Brown said.

Ponds tend to be in areas that are more rural, while portable swimming pools are often set up in the city or villages where chances of unsupervised youngsters drowning are greater, Mr. Brown said.

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