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Swimming Pools Potentially in Jeopardy on Nantucket


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nantucket pools

If you are thinking about adding a pool to your Nantucket property, you may need to reconsider.  A private citizen’s article proposes to vastly restrict your right to do so. With the help of our friends at Cohen & Cohen Law, here’s what you need to know about the proposed article:

Pools are currently allowed in all districts except ROH/SOH and CI, subject to lot line setbacks and HDC approval; pools are allowed by Special Permit in the VR and MMD districts. 

The Citizen’s Article proposes to add the following restrictions:

1.    Prohibit pools in all zoning districts with a minimum lot area of 10,000 SF or less and in the MMD district (which is 10-acre lots).

2.    Require a Special Permit for pools in zoning districts with a minimum lot area of 20,000 SF lots, and for community pools.

3.    Require that the perimeter of the pool, plus 5 feet around it, would count against ground cover, for example, a 20’x40’ pool would count as 1,500 SF of ground cover. Pools do not currently count against ground cover.

4.    Create additional 20’ setbacks for pools and pool equipment regardless of zoning.

5.    Allow the ZBA to impose additional conditions on pools. 

This Warrant Article poses several concerns:

1.    Nearly 800 lots that were built with conforming pools are at risk of becoming nonconforming as to use, setback, groundcover and otherwise.

2.    Hundreds, if not thousands, of lots, outside of the historic districts, would not be allowed to have a pool and many lots in the R-20/S-20 districts would be effectively prohibited or extremely restricted from having pools. 

3.    Determining whether a lot can have a pool would require a zoning process that takes at least 3+ months and can cost thousands of dollars, before any reliable answer could be obtained.

4.    Zoning Articles can be retroactive to when the Warrant is published, in January 2019, so lots affected by this proposed change may not be able to obtain a building permit for a pool between January and April 2019, because the Article might pass, and there is no effective way to get relief for this issue.  Some existing rights and uses can be preserved in some cases by acting now.  Concerned persons should contact an attorney. 

Please note that this is NOT a warrant article submitted by the Town of Nantucket. Please further note that this blog is informational and is not intended to provide legal advice or to create an attorney/client relationship. 

To see all of the proposed articles, visit the Town’s website.

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Fisher Real Estate