Pool ordinance repealed
by David Crowder
Posted on July 8, 2008
City Rep. Beto O’Rourke did what politicians rarely do Tuesday, admitting that he made a mistake in pushing through a poorly thought-out ordinance on swimming pools and fencing in April that needed to be thrown out.
“At worst, it was a pretty bad ordinance,” he said.
He initially proposed that the council rescind the new ordinance, reinstate the previous pool rules the council put in place in 2003 and then come back Sept. 1 with a new and improved version of the April measure.
But after further discussion and some criticism of the city for trying to “legislate personal responsibility” by imposing stronger safety standards, O’Rourke said he would rather drop the requirement that a new ordinance be readied for adoption by Sept. 1.
The motion to repeal the April 1 measure came from city Rep. Melina Castro and was unanimously approved.
Work on a new ordinance will continue at the council committee and city staff levels without a deadline for bringing it to the full council for action.
Several people addressed the council on behalf of the real estate community to express concerns about the April 1 measure, which would increase housing costs and impose requirements on homeowners that they erect new fences around existing swimming pools and raise the height of the rock walls around their back yards from the standard four-feet high to five.
“We feel the question should be more pool safety than pool legislation,” said Doug Hamilton.
Dan Olivas, president of the El Paso Association of Realtors, said, “I think you have demonstrated a great service to the community by being willing to reconsider this.”
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