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Swimming Pool Zoning Laws and Fencing Requirements City of Paterson, Passaic County

June 12, 2018

Updated as of June 2018


As used in this chapter the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:


A fence, wall, building wall or combination thereof that completely surrounds the swimming pool and obstructs access to the swimming pool.


The underlying surface, such as earth or a walking surface.


See definition of “spa, non-self-contained” and “spa, self-contained.”


See definition of “swimming pool.”


Any manufactured, artificially constructed or developed swimming pool or swimming pond intended for swimming or recreational bathing, excluding reservoirs or ponds used by farmers as part of their irrigation system, which has a depth in excess of 18 inches at any point and is permanently or temporarily established or maintained upon any residential premises by any individual for such individual, such individual’s family or such individual’s guests. Small wading pools, which are emptied when not in use, are exempt from these requirements.


A hydro-massage pool or tub for recreational or therapeutic use, not located in health-care facilities, designed for immersion of users and usually having a filter, heater and motor-driven blower. It may be installed indoors or outdoors, on the ground or on a supporting structure, or in a ground or in a supporting structure. A non-self-contained spa is intended for recreational bathing and contains water over 24 inches deep.


A continuous-duty appliance in which all control, water-heating and water-circulating equipment is an integral part of the product, located entirely under the spa skirt. A self-contained spa is intended for recreational bathing and contains water over 18 inches deep.

438-2Permit required; application.

Permit required. No private swimming pool shall hereafter be constructed, installed or altered without the property owner having first obtained a permit in the manner hereinafter provided.

Application for permit. An application for such a permit shall be made to the Construction Official. The application shall include:


Two sets of plans and specifications or descriptive brochures.


Two plot plans drawn to scale, showing the entire lot upon which said pool is proposed to be constructed, developed, installed or altered and showing the area within 100 feet of the proposed pool site. The plot plan shall also include the size, shape, depth and location of the pool; the type, height and location of the fence; the distance of the pool from property lines and from all other structures on said lot or adjacent area; and the location of the septic system and any electrical installation within 15 feet of a pool edge or above any part of the pool.


A description of the water inlet system


A description of the method of disinfection, treatment and disposal of the water to be used.

438-3Action on application by Health Officer.

The application will be forwarded by the Construction Official to the Health Officer, who, within 14 days after receipt of the application, shall take one of the following actions:

Approve the application and so indicate to the Construction Official.

Approve the application subject to additional sanitary safeguards deemed necessary for the safeguard of public health, and so indicate to the Construction Official.

Reject the application and indicate the reasons therefor to the Construction Official.

438-4Issuance of permit.

Upon receipt of an approved application from the Health Officer, the Construction Official will examine the application for conformity to existing building codes and this chapter. The Construction Official will issue a permit upon payment of applicable fees.


Before the pool is put into use, the Construction Official and Health Officer will make an inspection and assure compliance with the structure and health requirements. The building permit shall then be endorsed as a use permit.


The following fees for permits shall apply: same as for building permits.

438-7Construction and equipment requirements; location restriction; fencing; water supply.

No provision of this chapter shall mitigate any provision of the Building Code that is applicable to swimming pools.

The construction of any swimming pool (portable or permanent) shall follow the design and safety precautions of good building practice. All pools shall be designed and constructed so as to facilitate emptying and cleaning and shall be maintained and operated in such manner as to be clean and sanitary at all times.

All permanent swimming pools shall be so constructed, developed, installed and maintained as to provide necessary equipment for chlorination and other disinfection and filtration. The filtration system shall have sufficient capacity to complete the recirculation of pool water in 18 hours or less.

Swimming pools will not be located over or within 20 feet horizontally from any septic disposal field or within 10 feet horizontally of a septic tank or distribution box. No property will be subdivided if the result will be that a swimming pool will be separated in ownership from an adjoining residence.

All private swimming pools now existing or hereafter constructed, installed, established or maintained shall be enclosed with a substantial barrier and gate that complies with the minimum requirements listed below:


The top of the barrier shall be at least 72 inches above grade measured on the side of the barrier that faces away from the swimming pool. The maximum vertical clearance between grade and the bottom of the barrier shall be two inches, measured on the side of the barrier that faces away from the swimming pool. The maximum vertical clearance at the bottom of the barrier may be increased to four inches when grade is a solid surface, such as a concrete deck, or when the barrier is mounted on top of the aboveground pool structure. When barriers have horizontal members spaced less than 54 inches apart, the horizontal members shall be placed on the pool side of the barrier. Any decorative design work on the side away from the swimming pool, such as protrusions, indentations or cutouts, which render the barrier easily climbable, is prohibited.


Openings in the barrier shall not allow passage of a sphere of 1 3/4 inches in diameter.


When vertical spacing between such openings is 54 inches or more, the opening size may be increased such that the passage of a sphere four inches in diameter is not allowed.


For fencing composed of vertical and horizontal members, the spacing between vertical members may be increased up to four inches when the distance between the tops of horizontal members is 54 inches or more.


Chain link fences used as the barrier shall not be less than 11 gauge.


Access gates shall comply with the requirements of Subsection E(3) through (5). Pedestrian access gates shall be self-closing and have a self-latching device. Where the release mechanism of the self-latching device is located less than 54 inches from the bottom of the gate, the release mechanism shall be located on the pool side of the barrier at least three inches below the top of the gate, and the gate and barrier shall have no opening greater than 1/2 inch within 18 inches of the release mechanism. Pedestrian gates shall swing away from the pool. Any gates other than pedestrian access gates shall be equipped with lockable hardware or padlocks and shall remain locked at all times when not in use.


Where a wall of a dwelling unit serves as part of the barrier and contains door openings between the dwelling unit and the outdoor swimming pool that provide direct access to the pool, a separation fence meeting the requirements of Subsection E(3), (4), (5) and (6) of § 438-7 shall be provided.


When approved by the Building Official, one of the following may be used:


Self-closing and self-latching devices installed on all doors with direct access to the pool with the release mechanism located a minimum of 54 inches above the floor.


An alarm installed on all doors with direct access to the pool. The alarm shall sound continuously for a minimum of 30 seconds within seven seconds after the door and its screen, if present, are opened, and shall be capable of providing a sound pressure level of not less than 85 dBA when measured indoors at 10 feet. The alarm shall automatically reset under all conditions. The alarm system shall be equipped with a manual means, such a touchpad or switch, to temporarily deactivate the alarm for a single opening. Such deactivation shall last no longer than 15 seconds. The deactivation switch shall be located at least 54 inches above the threshold of the door.


Other means of protection may be acceptable so long as the degree of protection afforded is not less than that afforded by any of the devices described above.


Where an aboveground pool structure is used as a barrier or where the barrier is mounted on top of the pool structure, and the means of access is a ladder or steps, then the ladder or steps shall be capable of being secured, locked or removed to prevent access or the ladder or steps shall be surrounded by a barrier that meets the requirements of Subsection E(2) through (7). When the ladder or steps are secured, locked or removed, any opening created shall be protected by a barrier complying with Subsection E(3) through (7).


Where a window faces a swimming pool enclosure, said window shall be equipped with a screwed-in-place wire mesh screen, a keyed lock that prevents opening the window more than four inches or a latching device located not less than 54 inches above the floor. Emergency escape or rescue windows in bedrooms which face swimming pool enclosures shall be equipped with a latching device located no less than 54 inches above the floor.


An above-the-ground pool having a sidewall height of at least four feet above finished ground level is exempt from the above fencing requirement, provided that access to the pool is by means of a removable or retractable ladder. A retractable ladder shall be equipped with a key-operated locking device which will secure the ladder in the retractable position when not in use.


An above-the-ground pool of sidewall height less than four feet above finished ground level may be exempt from the above fencing requirements, provided that a suitable strong protective covering is placed over the pool and adequately secured whenever the pool is unattended or not in use; and provided, further, that the above provisions with regard to ladders are also adhered to where applicable.

No electrical switches, outlets or appliances and no electrical wiring not in well-grounded shielding conduit shall be within a three-foot radius of any point of the pool’s edge or surface as measured in any direction. No electrical installation shall be so constructed or located that in the event that it should collapse or fall, it would fall into the pool. The circulating pumps, motors, lights, filtration equipment and all other electrical equipment used in conjunction with a swimming pool shall be electrically supplied through an underwriter’s approved ground fault circuit breaker. Such breaker will be mounted within the main service panel within the building on which public service has mounted its meter. Ground fault breakers designed to plug into existing wall receptacles will not be approved for pool use. All electrical equipment will be installed as to comply with the National Electrical Code, 2002, and as thereafter adopted by the State of New Jersey.

There shall be no physical connection between a potable water system and a pool. The water supply system for a pool shall be in compliance with the National Standard Plumbing Code, 2004, and as thereafter adopted annually by the State of New Jersey.

Preferably, the discharge should empty into a storm sewer, stream or dry well of adequate capacity. In no case shall the pool water be discharged within 50 feet of a well or within 25 feet of an adjacent property, pool or residence.

438-8Artificial lighting.

All artificial lighting of the pool areas shall be shielded from direct view of neighboring properties or roads.

438-9Indoor pools.

For an indoor swimming pool, protection shall comply with the requirements of § 438-7.

438-10Spas and hot tubs.

For a non-self-contained and self-contained spa or hot tub, protection shall comply with the requirements of § 438-7.

A self-contained spa or hot tub equipped with a listed safety cover shall be exempt from the requirements of § 438-7.

438-11Violations and penalties.

Maximum penalty. Any person who violates any provision or order promulgated under Chapter 438 established herein shall be liable to a penalty of not more than $1,250 and/or community service of up to 10 days and/or imprisonment for up to 90 days.

Separate violations. Except as otherwise provided, every day in which a violation of any provision of this chapter or any other ordinance of the City exists shall constitute a separate violation.

Application. The maximum penalty stated in this section is not intended to state an appropriate penalty for every violation. Any lesser penalty, including a nominal penalty or no penalty at all, may be appropriate for a particular case or violation.

Additional remedies. The imposition of a penalty as provided in Subsection A, or as specifically provided in any other chapter of this Code or in another ordinance of the City shall be in addition to any injunctive or remedial relief which is authorized under the laws of the state, with the same force and effect as though provided for in this Code. Such penalty shall not be deemed to be in lieu of any provision for revocation or suspension of any license or permit.


For more information on New Jersey pool fencing laws and regulations, or if you are interested in what designs work best around your pool, visit Carl’s at or call 732-504-3372.

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