CARY — Local swim teams will soon have one more indoor facility to practice in during the winter months.
The Cary Town Council voted unanimously this month to allow the Cary Swim Club to build a tent over its eight-lane, 25-yard pool on Walnut Street for up to six months a year.
Currently, the pool is open from mid-May until the first week in September. The club sought to extend the pool’s availability because a rise in local year-round swim teams has increased demand for indoor pools.
“There’s a shortage of lane space for year-round swim teams,” said Jason Oates, a Cary Swim Club board member. “With our teams losing their lanes at other places, this is a natural fit for them.”
The temporary tent requested by the swim club is considered a non-conforming structure under its current zoning, so the group had to get a special-use permit from the town.
As a temporary structure, it can only stand for up to six months. The council and swim club representatives agreed that allowing the tent from Oct. 15 to April 15 each year would best serve the pool’s members.
Oates hopes to install the tent by late February.
A handful of legal advisers argued on behalf of the pool, and one local resident argued against it.
Julie Lovett, who lives near the pool, said the noise on swim-meet nights is already an issue.
“Between the very loud buzzer that goes off every five minutes … my family’s peace and quiet have been taken away,” she said.
Lovett said she also worried that the tent, which she considers an eyesore, would affect her property’s value.
Alice Ligon, a real estate appraiser asked to speak by Lovett, said her concerns were valid.
“There is no doubt that this tent will have a 2 to 3 percent reduction in value to her home,” Ligon said.
The swim club’s attorney, Larry McBennett, dismissed that claim, saying it was “just a hunch,” not an analysis like the 72-page report filed by the appraiser hired by the swim club. That analysis found that the tent would not affect property values.
Councilman Don Frantz, who lives near the pool, said he thinks the positives of allowing the tent outweigh the negatives.
“This provides a place for these kids to train, exercise, learn sportsmanship ... and do good things,” Frantz said.
During the winter months, kids might otherwise be “sitting on their butt in front of an Xbox,” he said.
Specht: 919-460-2608; Twitter: @AndySpecht