Plan to build houses called all wet Site now has swimming pool

February 12, 1993|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff Writer

George and Timothy Grogan's plan to turn a closed swimming pool in Westminster's Middlebrooke subdivision into four single-family houses drew some 30 opponents to the city Planning Commission meeting last night.

The commission is expected to vote at its March 11 meeting on a recommendation to the City Council, which will make the decision on whether to allow the planned conversion.

Neighborhood residents said they had been told when they bought their homes that the pool and surrounding area would remain as community open space.

They cited the ambience of open space, availability of a place for children to play and fear of decreased property values in opposition to the proposed homes.

George Grogan and his son Timothy countered that they had been unable to make a profit on the swim club and now want to build single-family houses, which are permitted under Middlebrooke's residential zoning. They need council approval because they are seeking to change the property's use from recreational to residential.

Residents expressed sympathy for the Grogans' financial plight. "I'm sorry he didn't make a success of the pool, but I don't feel we at Middlebrooke should have to suffer because he didn't make a good business decision," said Bonita Murkel, a resident of Fox Meadow Garth.

Asked by commission member Jerry L. Toadvine whether they would prefer a vacant pool to houses, most of those who spoke against development said they just didn't want to see houses on the site.

Charles Ruppert, a member of Middlebrooke Homeowners Association who lives on Farm Creek Road, said the association had discussed buying the pool from the Grogans, "but the price that has been quoted was out of our price range." He said he could not recall the asking price.

The Grogans and Timothy's wife Linda bought the swim club in 1988 and operated it for three years. George Grogan said earlier that the pool never made a profit and that he was able to keep it open only because it was subsidized by his family's construction business.

He said the swim club was plagued by vandalism, and stolen chaise lounges and chairs, "and the next day, you could buy them back at yard sales."

The Grogans' surveyor, Andrew Daneker, and attorney E. Suzan Miller, who represents the neighbors, disagreed on the amount of acreage in open space in the subdivision. City Planning Director Thomas B. Beyard said he would have a surveyor calculate the acreage from city plats before the Planning Commission vote next month.

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