Dreaming of pools? Don’t forget the rules

COPAKE—Before we know it people will be saying to each other, “Well, is it hot enough for you?”

If that time comes—by some miracle this year—the winter without end will finally be kaput and we will all be hankering for an umbrella drink and a dip in the pool. Imagine it, somewhere in the yard, maybe where that giant mud puddle of snowmelt sits now, its waves lapping what’s left of the deer-chewed rhododendron.

But whatever the landscape, people who have a swimming pool in their future should know that first they need a building permit.

Edward Ferratto, building inspector/code enforcement officer for the towns of Copake, Ancram and Catskill, asked The Columbia Paper to get the word out. “It’s the season,” he said.

According to New York State Residential Code, any pool designed to hold a minimum of 24 inches of water requires a building permit and pools of that size must also have a barrier, usually a fence that is 48 inches high.

A solid-framed, four-foot high pool is considered to be its own barrier, but those four-foot high blue quick-set, inflatable or non-rigid-sided pools need a fence around them.

These fences have gate, latch, lock and stair requirements as well.

If getting into the pool requires a ladder or steps, they must be removable, lockable or securable in some way.

According to state regulations, storable pools, ones that are taken down and put back up year after year, must be connected to a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet.

Permanent pools require special electrical connections that must be wired and an electrical inspection is necessary.

All pools must be equipped with a pool alarm, which is a device in the pool water that emits an audible alarm when it detects a child or pet entering the water when the pool is not in use. Since 2006, all new pool installations and any renovations to existing pools have been required to have this device.

Swimming pools must meet setback requirements according to local zoning. Check with the town building department to find out what the setbacks are in a certain zone.

Pools are not allowed in the front yard, so if you thought you were going to make your neighbor across the street jealous—forget about it.

To get a building permit visit the town building department or, in the case of Copake go online to copake.org then go to dept./offices then Code Enforcement Office/Building department.

In Copake, building permits cost $4 per $1,000 worth of project cost or a minimum of $50. There is a closeout fee of $35 for the certificate of compliance and final inspection.

People who install pools (or other structures) without first getting a building permit will be charged double the regular fees.

Mr. Ferratto advises people to contact their local building department to ask about zoning regulation requirements before they purchase a swimming pool.

To contact Diane Valden email

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