How the Grinch Stole Summer

Nantucket Citizen’s Warrant Article to Heavily Restrict Swimming Pools Island-Wide

Don’t be alarmed but we feel as though we should warn you that there is a Grinch of sorts lurking on Nantucket this holiday season, a grinch targeting a specific instrument of joy. Can you guess his gripe?

He has firmly expressed his alarm over swimming pools, classifying them as a “nuisance”. He has submitted a citizen’s warrant article, to be voted on at April Annual Town Meeting (ATM), seeking to greatly restrict the installation of pools on the Island. Until the ATM vote, the article is de facto law. Once a zoning article is proposed and published in the Inquirer & Mirror, it becomes the law until it is voted on at Town Meeting. If it does not get a two-thirds vote of approval the article is defeated and no longer an issue.

Great Point Properties is choosing to not take a position on this article and rather let Nantucket’s Annual April Town Meeting determine what is best for our community.

With the fate of pools in our community’s hands, it is important to note everyone should “look before they leap” (Mom, you were right!).

Maybe you are of the “why does anyone need a pool on Nantucket?” mindset, after all, we are surrounded by 360 degrees of water. We hear you.

However, this specific article has far broader impacts than it seems on the surface. This impacts homeowners of all shapes and sizes. Under this proposal, a pool will be restricted by ground cover and zone. It will not just impact homeowner’s who thought they could put in a pool, but the homeowner’s with existing pools as well.

Do you have a pool and believe you have enough ground cover to eventually build or expand? Hold it right there! This article proposes that the square footage of your pool be counted toward ground coverage. If you have a pool and wish to build or expand any structure, a special permit will be necessary as your lot will now be non-conforming. Fear not, pool permits will still be issued in LUG1, 2, 3 and R40 zones provided that you have enough ground coverage. If you are in 1/2 acre zoning, you will need a Special Permit.

Keep in mind a pool’s ground cover as specified in this article will be the length times width plus 5-foot perimeter. No Grinch wants to hear laughter, music or that award-winning cannonball splash by way of a nearby pool, so a pool is no longer measured by the standard 512 sq ft (32′ X 16′), it is now calculated as 42′ X 26′ =1,092 sq. ft.

You will also need to maintain 20ft setbacks from all lot lines. The Grinch was thoughtful in the design of this article effectively impacting the majority of properties on the Island and limiting their abilities to install a pool. Pools essentially now are now restricted to oversized lots.

Community strong, or should we say “Who-ville” strong we must look at the broad picture here. What does this mean for the community as a whole?

So before you say “why would they need a pool?” and get on the bandwagon of the 17 people who have supported this article pulled by Max with the Grinch and his friend at his back, let’s stop and think about property rights and the zoning nightmare that this Warrant Article creates.

The Book of Who says this too: ‘No matter how different a Who may appear, he will always be welcome with holiday cheer.’ So whether you want a pool or not, we feel greeting our summer friends with a challenge on pools is like an attack on Summer jubilation. But we will let the community be the judge.

If you wish to comment on this article please send correspondence to Andrew Vorce, Director of Planning at or to Leslie Snell, Deputy Director of Planning, at