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Pawleys Island: Town considers limits on swimming pools

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

The town of Pawleys Island will consider ways to regulate construction of swimming pools, particularly above-ground pools that some say could change the look of island’s homes.

“All of a sudden we’re getting more pools,” said Jimmy McCants, who chairs the Planning Commission. Two building permits were issued for pools in the last year. He tried to find out how other coastal communities, particularly those on barrier islands, handle pool construction, but said there doesn’t seem to be much regulation.

“We’ve had a couple of discussions about above-ground pools,” Mayor Bill Otis said. “Are they consistent with Pawleys Island?”

The town’s assistant administrator, Ryan Fabbri, has also looked for information from other towns without success, Otis told the Planning Commission last week.

“It seems to me you’d need a pretty big lot,” commission member Bill Doar said.

“Not really,” Otis said.

Commission member Fran Green said a “swim jet” or “treadmill pool” could be incorporated into a deck. “You wouldn’t know it’s there,” she said, but later added that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good thing.

“A lot of these are hot tubs or jacuzzis,” commission member Ed Fox said.

Georgetown County allows pools within the side and rear lot setbacks, but requires a 15-foot setback from saltwater wetlands. McCants said he is concerned about chlorine from pool water reaching Pawleys Creek.

Georgetown County Water and Sewer District doesn’t allow pools to be drained into the island’s sewer system, McCants said.

“You will see a lot of pressure from folks to put pools in because of the rentals,” commission member Buddy Keller said. “Is the island big enough for all these pools?” If the commission wants to limit the number of pools, Otis said he would get advice from the town attorney.

Commission members said they would like more information about the impact of pools, both on the environment and on the island’s aesthetics. McCants suggested the town might want to treat in-ground and above-ground pools differently, and distinguish between those that use salt to generate chlorine and those that require direct use of chlorine for disinfecting.

Keller offered to talk with friends in the pool industry and get more information for the commission’s April meeting.

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