Recovering From a Setback – Install A Swim Spa!

Did you get caught in a bind from the City of Rehoboth lot setback changes? Caught in a swimming snafu? Your plans for an in-ground swimming pool gone down the drain?

I recently bought a property in downtown Rehoboth Beach at 226 State Road, Rehoboth Beach. The property appealed to me as an investment property to place into weekly vacation rental management with an amenity in high demand by vacationers – an in-ground swimming pool.

After closing on the property, the City changed the set back rules from 10 feet to 15 feet. This, combined with the sandy soil here at the beach, meant that an in-ground pool would no longer be possible. Setbacks meant that the pool would have to be situated so close to the main house (a modest 1200 square foot rancher) that the contractor feared construction would undermine the house foundation. Additionally, the setbacks mean that the size of the pool would have been an awkward skinny rectangle shape.

So, given lemons, and making lemonade, we worked with the City to install an above ground swim spa.

The swim spa model I chose is around 8 feet by 12 feet and has an endless pool mechanism for swimming (pictured above left, and below right).

Swim Spa DeckAt 96 square feet, this swim spa is actually larger than many swimming pools in downtown Rehoboth Beach. In this context, I opted for an above ground install to keep budget down and allow a wood deck around the swim spa. I have seen many examples of swim spas being submerged at or slightly above ground level. Some installations opt for wooden decking; others a more elaborate and pleasing stone landscaping. These latter options look exactly like swimming pools!

Please note that your city and county ordinances may differ from the City of Rehoboth Beach. Additionally, if you are in a managed community, your Home Owners Association/Condo Association rules may differ. Always check with the appropriate authorities for specific rules governing swim spas. For example, you will need to fence in the area that encloses the swim spa – just like a swimming pool. Your HOA may not permit fences!

Swim Spa Partially SunkenSwim Spa SunkenThe image to the left is an example where a swim spa is installed partially submerged. The image to the right is an example where a swim spa is installed at ground level.
The landscaping surround could be decking, or a stone/paved patio.

For me, the total cost of installation – inclusive of the cost of the swim spa, permits, and deck landscaping was $23,000. With this swim spa, I’ve been able to raise the weekly rental rates an additional $500 to $1000 a week. Since the swim spa is heated, then this addition has increased the appeal of this property year-round.