City ponders requirements for CO detectors, pools

Carbon monoxide detectors would be required in rental properties throughout Fort Dodge under a proposed code update before the City Council.

That same code update would essentially eliminate new swimming pools in front yards. And it would empower city inspectors to consult with public health and mental health professionals regarding the living conditions of people.

The council was briefed on the proposed updates Monday, and it’s scheduled to consider the first reading of them next week.

The city inspectors are asking the council to move from the 2012 International Property Maintenance Code to the 2015 version of it.

“Code is about life safety,” Paige Wheeler, the city’s nuisance inspection administrative technician, told the council.

She said the property maintenance code is designed to eliminate blight and building safety issues.

The newer version of the code would require carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of a rental property and within 15 feet of every room used for sleeping.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that can be deadly in high concentrations.

The updated property maintenance code includes fencing requirements for swimming pools that would ban them from the front yards of homes.

The code requires a pool to be surrounded by a 54-inch-high fence that is at least 3 feet from the pool. Wheeler said the 3-foot separation is intended to prevent a child from climbing the fence and falling from it directly into the pool and drowning.

Since 48 inches is now the highest permissible fence in a front yard, the change effectively bans pools from front yards.

The code updates also:

• Prohibit parking in front yards or on vacant lots.

• Require clear or translucent windows or window coverings.

• Require exterior weather-resistant doors.