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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The Colfax Village Board has rescinded the ordinance requiring village residents to build a fence around in-ground and above-ground swimming pools.
An ordinance for fences around swimming pools is not needed, said William Anderson, Colfax Police Chief, at the Colfax Village Board’s May 9 meeting.
If people have a swimming pool, it is their liability, and an ordinance requiring a fence around the swimming pool should be enforced, and if it is not enforced, then the village should not have an ordinance, he said.
Not that the police chief has not been trying to enforce the ordinance.
Police Chief Anderson said he has warned a number of village residents that if they have a swimming pool, the village’s ordinances require a fence around it.
The entire procedure, from verbal warning to written warning to enforcement action, takes time, he said.
“Your insurance company will tell you to build a fence,” said Anne Jenson, village trustee.
If the ordinance was rescinded, it would take the stress off the police chief for enforcing the ordinance and for the appearance that the ordinance is not being enforced, said Jody Albricht, village president.
Even though it is early in the swimming season, and most of April was cold, wet, rainy and snowy, Police Chief Anderson said he has already stopped at one place to talk to the owner about putting a fence around a swimming pool.
Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer, reiterated that it is not that the pool fence ordinance is not being enforced but that it takes a while to get through the procedure to the enforcement.
The village board has two choices: leave the ordinance as it is or repeal and rescind the ordinance, said Gary Stene, village trustee.
The village is not responsible for people’s pools and whether they put a fence around their pool, said Jen Rud, village trustee.
But if there is an ordinance, then it becomes the village’s responsibility to enforce the ordinance, said Jeff Prince, village trustee.
The Colfax Village Board approved rescinding the ordinance requiring fences around swimming pools on a vote of six “yes” to one “no.”
Village Trustee Margaret Burcham voted against the motion.
Voting in favor were Albricht and village trustees Carey Davis, Anne Jenson, Jeff Prince, Jen Rud and Gary Stene.
The ordinance that was rescinded May 9 was approved as an updated ordinance in May of 2015 and required a four-foot fence for pools concerning a fence constructed prior to the updated ordinance and a six-foot fence for pools and fences constructed after the updated ordinance was approved.
The rescinding of the swimming pool ordinance will officially go into effect after it has been published in the Colfax Messenger.