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Court calls for swimming pool safety in P&Z ordinance

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By Josh Shepherd, News writer

Upon hearing input from residents and Planning and Zoning Commission representatives, the Harrison County Fiscal Court requested amendments to a planning ordinance that requires safety precautions on privately owned, above-ground swimming pools in the county.

Bonnie Skinner, director of Planning and Community Development with the Planning and Zoning Commission, will add language to the ordinance to address safety concerns with some types of above ground pools.

The ordinance will require that owners of above-ground pools measuring 18 inches deep or more have in place measures that restrict access by children when not in use.

Such access restrictions can be the removal of a ladder or stairs, the construction of a lockable gate or fence around the pool, or an alarm to alert homeowners or neighbors of unauthorized use of the owner’s pool.

Avi Bear, chair of the Cynthiana, Berry and Harrison County Planning Commission Board, explained that the intent of the ordinance is to reduce the risk of litigation and enhance child safety concerns when it comes to outdoor swimming pools.

 “The ordinance is designed to minimize as much as possible the risk of small kids wandering into an unguarded pool unsupervised,” Bear explained.

As a clear illustration of the risks involved, Amy Majewski told magistrates of a situation that occurred this past summer. Her five-year-old, intrigued by the pool in her neighbor’s yard, wandered into the yard and climbed a ladder that led into the pool.

“You know how small children can get away. It was just seconds and he suddenly disappeared,” she said.

The boy was found in the pool. Fortunately, nothing more serious had occurred, she said, but had the ladder been removed from the side of the pool, it would have made it that much harder for her child to sneak in, she said.

“I’m not requesting a county pool police,” Majewski said. “I think pool owners should take measures to prevent access to their pools - especially when they are not home.”

The magistrates and Judge Executive Alex Barnett agreed that some ordinance should be in place, but there were concerns about how it should be enforced.

In terms of the enforcement of the ordinance, Bear said that responsibility for compliance would be in the hands of the Planning and Zoning Commission. If parents have concerns, they can report those concerns to the P&Z office and staff members would look into making sure ordinary safety precautions would be observed.

Skinner said she would add language to the ordinance to reflect the magistrates’ suggested amendments. A first reading will be held at the next meeting of the fiscal court.

 

During the road committee presentation, Barnett said that his office received several complaints about drivers using the Old Paris Road as a means to avoid the roundabout.

However, drivers are treating this residential section of the road as though it were still the highway.

“We have had several reports of people driving way too fast on that road,” Barnett said. He stressed that the old road is no longer meant for heavy highway traffic. It is now a residential access for

He asked magistrates for permission to place signs declaring the old section of US 27, now called Old Paris Road, as a “No Thru Traffic” area.

“I know that some people will still use the road, but we might reduce the traffic through there with a sign. We can also think of other restrictions as well,” Barnett said.

The magistrates approved Barnett’s request.

In other business, the fiscal court:

•Were informed that the state local debt officer, Tony Wilder, approved the court’s request to take out a loan with Kentucky Bank to finance renovation of the Harrison County Courthouse.

•Adopted a resolution between the fiscal court and the state highway department to construct a new bridge on Apple Lane.

•Were informed that Cynthiana-Harrison County Parks and Recreation hired Tracy Markland as a full time employee.

 •Magistrate William Fritz informed the court that the Flora Shropshire Animal Shelter will receive a $600 donation from the Beef Cattle Association for the purchase of food and cleaning supplies.