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Important First Steps On The Road To Pool Ownership

I.  Research Your Title Report for Easements

A.  Be sure to obtain the portion of your title report titled "Schedule B".  This document is legally called the Schedule B items of the Title Insurance Policy.  A homeowner would receive this during escrow or in refinancing their home.  This will identify in written form what easements exist, who owns them and typically call out the size and location of the easement.

B.  Obtain a copy of the tract map that is a portion of the Title Report. This will demonstrate in plan form the location of any easements on the property. Not all maps show easements, so the "Schedule B" section takes precedence.

C.  Why is this important?

            1.  This will save time during the permit process as the City will not require any design corrections based on easements.

            2.  This will limit unforeseen expenditures to the homeowner if a utility is hit during construction.  Technically, this is not the responsibility of the pool contractor and generally stated in the contract.

            3.  This protects the homeowner from having their new improvements damaged or entirely removed at their expense because the easement owner needs ingress at their discretion to this land.



II. Consider How the Bobcat Shall Gain Access to the Project Area

A.  Most access points are from the front yard (street) down either the left or right hand sides of the house, whichever is WIDER. However, access points can include side yards and rear yards as well, as long as there is a public street or alley that would allow a bobcat to export material to a dump truck. Slopes cannot be considered as access points.

B.  The size of the bobcat is determined by the NARROWEST point between two structures in the access. Typically this is some portion of the house and a property line fence or wall. Consider obstacles such as trees, planter walls, gas meters, overhead structures (eaves) as these can limit the size of the bobcat significantly. Discuss with your designer what the most cost effective way to get the largest bobcat possible in your yard.



III. Investigate Your City Codes

A.  Important codes for you to become informed of are called "setbacks". A setback is the MINIMUM distance between your new improvements and the property line. For example, the City of San Clemente has a "setback" to waterline of 5' to the property line. This means the inner wall of the swimming pool or spa cannot be CLOSER than 5' to the property line. Setbacks you should know are the setback to waterline from property line, the setback to the pool equipment from property line and if you plan to build any accessory structures like BBQ's or fireplaces, what those setbacks are as well.

B.  All pools are required to have approved "Pool Safe Barriers" in the form of property line fencing, gates and alarm systems. All cities have a minimum height for property line fencing and gates. This requirement can vary from city to city, so BE SURE to check with your jurisdiction for the most accurate information.  

C.  Most city jurisdictions have their codes posted at their websites for your convenience. However, all cities have staff on hand who are able to answer your setback questions with a phone call.

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