Island voters approved more restrictions of pools on Nantucket during Town Meeting on Saturday, passing a zoning bylaw amendment that prohibits new pools on lots under 7,500 square feet in certain zoning districts.
The vote on Article 48 was 226 in favor, and just 83 opposed. Nantucket had already banned new pools in the downtown and old historic Sconset districts, and Saturday’s vote further expanded the prohibition to small lots in the R-1, SR-1 and R-5 zoning districts island-wide, and increased the setbacks required for larger lots. Supporters of the new restrictions, including the Planning Board, cited a number of concerns regarding the proliferation of pools on the island, including stormwater runoff affecting other properties, environmental issues, as well as the impact on neighbors from the lights and noise associated with pools.
“I have longtime Nantucket friends who live in one of the outer, free open spaces of Nantucket and they’re constantly bothered by renters and their pools and the lights and the noise and the traffic,” said Jacqueline Edwards. “They’re leaving Nantucket.”
The Finance Committee split with the Planning Board on the zoning bylaw amendment, stating the change could impact property owners who bought their properties with the understanding the were able to have pools.
According to the town’s Planning & Land Use Services department, there are 798 properties on the island in those zoning districts that would be impacted by the new zoning bylaw.
Others in attendance at Town Meeting on Saturday objected.
“We’ve already banned pools in the Sconset historic district and the downtown historic district, and the historical aspect, fi you try to bring that to the rest of the island, is a far stretch,” said Jim Kielawa. “This is a little overreaching with what people with small lots should be able to do in their yards. Pools are not just keg parties and throw your cans over the fence. They’re a good thing for some people who choose to do that on their property.”
The new bylaw applies only to residential swimming pools and takes effect on September 30, 2021.