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Pool lifts nixed in Polk

Posted By: Kevin Schwartz Advocacy News ,

An appeals board in Polk County reversed a decision of its own building official and ruled unanimously that handicapped pool lifts are not required in apartment communities when the pool is intended solely for the use of resdients and guests.

The decision by the Polk County Contractor Licensing Board, which serves as the appeals board on code matters, came after building official Jim Legee refused a pool permit to Portofino at Champions Gate, a community under construction near Lakeland, unless the community installed a lift, which can cost upwards of $10,000 with installation. Legee believed that the Florida-specific accessibility part of the building code required them in all commercial and multi-family pools.

Except that the Florida Building Commission issued a declaratory statement in April 2013 that stated the opposite. Legee claimed that that statement expired when an updated code was adopted by the state in June 2015.

BAAA, arguing for Portofino, cited statutory authority which indicated that declaratory statements did not expire with a code cycle and that building officials were bound to follow them. The board quickly agreed 7-0 after a hearing May 11.