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Swimming Pool Zoning Laws and Fencing Requirements Township of Scotch Plain, Union County

June 12, 2018

Updated as of June 2018


Installing a swimming pool is a common addition to many homes. But always remember, SAFETY FIRST and follow all codes and guidelines outlined below.

Private and public pools apply to any structure intended for swimming, recreational bathing or wading that has the capability of holding water over 24 inches or more in depth.  This includes in-ground, above –ground and on-ground pools; hot tubs; spas and fixed in-place wading pools.  A full permit package with approved fencing, and if installing an above-ground pool a ladder enclosure, is required prior to installing a swimming pool.  For in-ground pools three signed and sealed detailed plans are required.  Signed and sealed diving board specifications are required if on your plan.  For above-ground pool a copy of the pool specifications are also required.  A copy of your property survey must be included and pool must meet side setbacks.

Relevant subcodes for permit:

  • UCC Building Subcode Technical Section (pdf 615k) Form U.C.C. F110 (rev. 07/03)
  • UCC Electrical Subcode Technical Section (pdf 63kb) Form U.C.C. F120 (rev. 07/03)
  • UCC Plumbing Subcode Technical Section (pdf 63kb) Form U.C.C. F130 (rev. 01/04)

Commercial pools requirements are the same as private pools insofar as they must also include a yearly health inspection by our Environmental Health Officer and an inspection by the Electrical Inspector for the pool’s yearly electrical bonding and grounding Certificate of Compliance.  In addition, every five years an Electrical Bonding Certificate is required for commercial pools.

Pool Fence Guidelines

Definition of a Barrier is:  A fence, a wall, a building wall, the wall of an above ground swimming pool, or a combination thereof, which completely surrounds the swimming pool and obstructs access to the swimming pool.

The requirements for a public swimming pool enclosure are in 5:23 – 3.14 of the UCC and are as follows:

  • Height of not less than 4 feet above the ground.
  • Gates shall be not less than 4 feet above the ground and shall be self-closing and self-latching with the latch not less than 4 feet from the ground.
  • Fences shall not allow the passage of a sphere larger than 4 inches.
  • Fences shall be able to withstand a load of 200 pounds applied on a 1 square foot area at any point of the fence.

The requirements for a private swimming pool enclosures and gates are in Section 5:23 -3.14 of the UCC are as follows:

  • Height shall not be less than 48 inches above the finished ground level which faces away from the swimming pool.
  • The maximum vertical distance between the ground and the barrier shall be 1 ¾”
  • The opening between the pool and the barrier and through the barrier shall not allow the passage of a 4 inch diameter sphere when the barrier is placed on top of the pool.
  • The barrier shall not contain abnormal, decorative indentations or protrusions to allow for climbing.

A barrier constructed of horizontal and vertical members where: (Where the horizontal members are less than 45 inches apart)

  • Horizontal members shall be located on the pool side of the barrier
  • Spacing between vertical member shall not exceed 1 ¾ inches.
  • Decorative cutouts shall not exceed 1 ¾ inches in width (Where the horizontal members are less than 45 inches or greater)
  • Spacing between vertical members shall not exceed 4 inches.
  • Decorative cutouts shall not exceed 1 ¾ inches in width.
  • Maximum mesh size is for chain link fences in 1 ¼ inch square.
  • Maximum opening for a chain link fence provided with slats fastened at the top and bottom is not more than 1 ¾ inches.
  • Maximum openings, within barriers, formed by diagonal members, such as lattice, shall not be more than 1 ¾ inches.
  • Decorative cutouts shall not exceed 1 ¾ inches in width.

Gates are required to have the following:

  • Locking device
  • Pedestrian  gates shall open outwards, away from the pool and shall be self-closing with a self-latching mechanism; and
  • Gates, other than pedestrian shall be equipped with a self-latching mechanism

Release mechanisms less than 54 inches above the ground are required to be as follows:

  • Located on the pool side of the gate not less than 3 inches below the top of the gate: and
  • Shall not have an opening greater than ½ inch. Within 18 inches of the release mechanism.

When the above-ground pool used as the barrier, or when the barrier is mounted above the pool structure, the barrier is required to extend around the entire fixed or removable ladder, or steps.  A removable ladder shall not constitute an acceptable alternative to enclosure requirements.

The formal interpretations on swimming pools are as follows:

  • A continuous barrier is required around a swimming pool.  Therefore, a retractable ladder cannot be used.


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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