Politics & Government

A swimming pool big enough for a sailboat could be coming to North Carolina

Swimming pools big enough to accommodate sailboats and other water sports could be coming to North Carolina under an amendment added Wednesday to unrelated legislation.

The company Crystal Lagoons is looking to build one of its “artificial swimming lagoons” in Brunswick County and possibly Charlotte, according to its lobbyist, former Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca.

But the state doesn’t currently have any regulations governing the unique water recreation facility, so previous efforts to build one at the Tryon International Equestrian Center were scrapped after it became difficult to obtain permits.

On Wednesday, Sen. Paul Newton, R-Cabarrus, introduced an amendment to House Bill 529, which would allow for a Utilities Commission rate adjustment mechanism based on changes in customer usage. Newton’s amendment would allow the lagoons to be regulated in a manner similar to swimming pools; it would define them as “any body of water used for recreational purposes with more than 20,000 square feet of surface area, an artificial liner, and a method of disinfectant.”

Crystal Lagoons boasts on its website that its technology allows for “a tropical beach paradise anywhere in the world.” In the United States, at least one of the lagoons is open in Florida, with others in the works.

The amendment (and the bill) passed the Senate Agriculture/ Environment/ Natural Resources Committee after Newton addressed concerns from Sen. Harper Peterson, D-New Hanover, about how the facilities would fare in a hurricane or natural disaster that creates coastal overwash.

Newton’s amendment also would repeal a rule requiring swimming pools to have landline telephones on-site. Newton said that requirement was once needed to ensure access to 911 calls, but is no longer necessary in the era of cell phones.

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