The Planning and Zoning Board recently approved a special permit by an 8-1 vote, allowing contractor Mark Pucci to construct an in-ground swimming pool within 25 feet of the high tide mark at 103 Point Beach Drive, despite one board member’s fear it might compromise a nearby seawall.

Betsy S. Hoos is the owner of the 0.24-acre property.

Pucci told the board that it approved plans about 18 months ago to allow him to construct the house on the property, which he said is just about finished. Hoos requested an in-ground pool, so Pucci said he contracted with Sharper Pools of Monroe to install a pool.

In response to questions, Pucci said the mechanical equipment for the pool would be located on a first floor deck 22 feet above the ground. He said there is an existing six-foot high fence from the street to the seawall. He said the sea wall is three feet high, but has a five-foot drop to the beach.

“The Building Department would dictate where the fence would go,” said Pucci. He said one option might be a one-foot high fence on the seawall, and if that is not permitted, he could install a fence to the seawall, commenting, “We are not required to put a fence on the seawall.”

Board member Richard Lutz, who was the lone dissenting vote, questioned if the pool installation would weaken the seawall.

Pucci responded by saying that he had to excavate the entire property and replaced the concrete he removed with clean fill and sand.

“It is far enough back from the wall that we are not endangering the wall,” said Pucci. “It is five feet away from the wall.”

Lutz then said, “Liner pools don’t have much stability on the side.”

Pucci said the pool would be reinforced with an aluminum frame.

Lutz then commented, “This area floods all the time. When the floodwater goes over the seawall, it goes into the pool.” He also commented that in a previous storm, the area was covered with “three inches of mud that was toxic.”

In response, Pucci said, “It doesn’t matter. There is water in the pool.” He further commented that this is a saltwater pool with a retractable cover that the owner could install in the event of a storm to keep the pool clean.

“There are other pools on Point Beach Drive,” said Pucci.

Prior to his vote, Lutz said, “I would like to see an engineering report telling us this pool is not going to compromise the seawall somehow.”

In response, Quish said the board’s job was to make a decision on the permit, and it was up to the Building Department to determine if the pool was properly engineered.