Issue Profile: The Pool Mandate

May 30, 2012

Have you ever been to a community pool? Perhaps you've visited a resort or lived in an apartment complex that had several pools and Jacuzzis? Well, thanks to a big-government, nanny-state mandate, those pools and Jacuzzis will soon be required to install a permanent lift to help the disabled into the water.

This mandate would impose a huge cost to the pool owners, who are then forced to rip up the concrete around the pool in order to install these lifts. The lift themselves cost anywhere between $2,500 and $9,700, and installing them can cost between $500 and $3,000. As with most mandates, the cost would surely be passed on to the residents or visitors, meaning hotel prices will increase or apartment fees will go up.

Congressman David Schweikert (R-AZ) has been very vocal on this subject, and gave a floor speech earlier this month on the subject (relevant transcript below):

"This is one of those moments you have here in Congress where I swear we are almost talking about completely different things than the reality I live in.
"I am blessed to represent Scottsdale, Arizona, one of the resort centers in the country.
"A month ago, I went and visited a resort right down the street from where I grew up. They have seven pools, if you count the jacuzzis. And I am walking through the resort with the manager, who I have known since high school, and he is just looking at me with these huge eyes saying, 'have they lost their minds?'
"First point he makes, is that they have had a portable lift for a decade. And no one has ever asked for it.
"Second point he made, and he was emphatic on this, was twenty years ago because of their tort liability they got rid of all the diving boards. And now we're going to demand they build six structures up against a jacuzzi?
"I can't wait to see who is going to be standing there monitoring those beer drinking and not climbing on top and leaping into a jacuzzi and using it as swimming pool diving board. Anyone familiar with the term attractive nuisance? Are you going to step up and say, 'We are going to provide you tort liability' when someone jumps off and ends up in horrible shape because twenty years ago we made a point to remove these types of hazards from the sides of pools and jacuzzis?
"But the third thing he was just livid on, was his point saying, 'I have seven pools in my resort. We're barely making it today and you are telling me I'm going to grind through my concrete and grind through my pool decking to build six fixed lifts near every pool and jacuzzi when no one has ever asked for the portable one in ten years?'
"What's wonderful about the amendment if you actually read it and move away from some of the rhetoric, is that it makes it very clear, that this is about building permanent structures next to those pools and jacuzzis. If they're going to mandate a portable-with the other caveats, ok, fine. Live with that.
"Let's actually step up and deal with this rationally because I fear the law of unintended consequences is going to be that some of my resorts are going to close down those jacuzzis, close down those pools from access to anyone when there is a pragmatic solution, which is embracing the portable lifts. From every call I have made up and down Scottsdale, and as you know we have resorts everywhere, I have not had a single manager call me back and say, 'Yes, we are using our portable one.'"

All too often, the government seeks to solve a problem that simply doesn't exist, and in doing so, causes greater problems than the one they intended to fix.

Related Links:
New Regulations on Facilities to Cost $1 Billion Annually