On Monday night, the Beatrice City Council discussed potential revisions to the city’s building codes, and foremost among them were pool barriers and weed control.
The council first discussed the city’s policy on swimming pool barriers.
City Administrator Tobias Tempelmeyer said that, in the past, the rules for swimming pools said that any pool capable of holding more than 24 inches of water had to have a barrier around it, which at various times has been interpreted to mean a fence, a cover or even a removable ladder on above-ground pools.
Chief Building Inspector Rob Mierau said that a good starting place, from a safety standpoint, would also be to only allow pools in back yards rather than on the street side of homes.
The council seemed to be in agreement that in-ground pools should have barriers around them, while above-ground pools don’t necessarily need them.
“I think that might be a sensible place to land,” said council member Bob Morgan. “I don't know how you're going to police all the other pools.”
Also being discussed on Monday night were weeds and how long they can to be present before the city steps in.
“How tall does grass and worthless vegetation need to be before you want to have us start sending out notices and have people become in violation?” Tempelmeyer asked the council. “Our current rule today is 12 inches.”
Once grass gets to 12 inches high, Mireau said, the city notifies the resident that they are out of compliance. Once a resident is contacted about mowing their grass, either in person or by certified mail, they will have five days to bring their yards into compliance.
The city does have some habitual offenders, Mireau said, and there are problems with compliance when the homeowner is deceased or if a home is in foreclosure, but if the yard isn’t maintained, the city will mow it and charge the resident for the labor.
Some council members said they’d like to see the length much shorter, at either 8 or 10 inches, but requiring that short of a length would make enforcement difficult, Code Enforcement Officer Chet McGrury said.
“I wouldn't go any lower than 10 if you're going to lower it,” McGrury said. “You get into springtime and you've got grass growing fast. I can't get around town fast enough to keep up with all these.”
No action was taken at Monday’s work session, and the revisions to both pool and weed codes will be worked on and brought back to the council for discussion at a later date.