Dallas Staff Briefs Housing Committee – Kris Sweckard, Dallas Code Director, and two other staff members met with AAGD on September 4 to review their progress on the Chapter 27 revision. Miraculously, the staff has listened to our concerns about good properties being over-inspected while poorly run properties are largely ignored. They have promised to introduce a risk-based inspection that would allow well managed properties to run for several years without the annoyance of an annual inspection. He then briefed the members of the Housing Committee on September 8, where several of our new Council friends have been appointed to serve. He reiterated the need for tougher standards for single family rental properties and a registration program.
The staff is currently working with the city attorney’s office on specific wording, which they expect to present to the Housing committee at a briefing on November 16. Right after that, they will hold stakeholder meetings which will include meeting with the AAGD task force. There will be a number of changes in the code and we need to be aware of all the new requirements.
Carrollton Passes Swimming Pool Rules – Despite the fact that the City of Carrollton has not seen fit to have ANY swimming pool or spa regulations for over 15 years, they have now passed the most onerous ordinance in our service area. After a full review of the new rules and a comparison with the state rules, Kathy asked for a meeting with the Environmental staff. Director Scott Hudson and two other managers met with Kathy and representatives from three different properties on September 8th.
They have taken a number of rules from the state regulations and extended them. For example, the state calls for an operator to retain their records for a period of two years, while Carrollton requires three years. Rather than testing for chemicals only, properties must keep a daily log demonstrating they have checked additional things, such as the fencing and hand rails.
Although the state rules clearly state that no special training or certification is required for on-site pool maintenance, the city is requiring that each property designate someone that holds the CPO (certified pool operator) certificate. To obtain a CPO, one must complete a 3-day course and pass an intensive 4-hour test! However, in our meeting, the staff conceded that you could post your pool service company’s name and phone number if they hold the CPO designation. Kathy informed them that they were the only city in the area that required a CPO, but they claimed that they were duplicating the Fort Worth ordinance. Kathy researched it and found that CPOs are only required at commercial pools in Fort Worth and that apartment properties were only obligated to attend a ½ day class provided by the city. We have yet to hear back from them!
Another concession we were able to get was regarding their requirement that a water fountain be provided at each pool. Although the ordinance does not allow for this option, they said you could provide water bottles at the pool, or direct residents to an alternative water source at another pool on property. There are additional signage requirements as well that properties are attempting to get in compliance with.
They stated that properties will have until the beginning of the next pool season to get fully up to the new code. We have asked that they review the code between now and then for any possible revisions, but Carrollton is not known to be that friendly to our requests. A letter to the City Council will be the next step.
Cedar Hill Prepares an Inspection Ordinance – We learned that the City of Cedar Hill will be considering an inspection ordinance in the near future. The program itself is similar to many others in the area, but the simplistic plan of inspecting the exterior of the buildings, the interiors of public spaces, and vacant units does not seem to justify the fee of $13 per unit they plan to charge. Kathy has scheduled a meeting with City Building Official Johnny Kendro, the leading architect of the program, for the afternoon of September 15th, along with Ian Mattingly and Steve Thurber. We will also be meeting with a few Council members prior to the presentation they are expected to receive in October.