Debate continues on plan to fill in pool

June 15, 1993|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff Writer

Lawyers squared off before the Westminster City Council last night over whether the owners of the former Middlebrooke Swim Club should be allowed to fill in the pool and build four houses on the property.

The council must decide whether to allow owners George F. and Timothy Grogan to change the property's use from recreational to residential. A "yes" vote by the council would clear the way for the Messrs. Grogan to sell the property for houses.

George Grogan revealed at last night's public hearing before the council that he and his son have a $95,000 sales contract for the 1.2-acre property with contractor William Kirk. The contract is contingent on council approval of the plan to build houses.

The council is legally required to decide the issue within 90 days after the public hearing record is closed. Mayor W. Benjamin Brown said the record will remain open until 4 p.m. Friday for additional written testimony.

The Grogans bought the swimming pool from Middlebrooke developer Alvin Myerberg in 1989 and operated it for three seasons.

George Grogan said the pool lost $6,000 a year. He said the $95,000 sales contract equals the amount he put into the pool, including the $25,000 he paid for it.

Attorney John Murphy, representing the Grogans, said his clients could not afford to reopen the pool.

"The choice is not between a pool and houses; it is between houses and a derelict pool and pool house," Mr. Murphy said.

Attorney E. Suzan Miller, representing the Middlebrooke Homeowners Association, countered that records of the subdivision's history show that brochures for prospective buyers touted a swimming pool.

"You'll see how passionate [subdivision residents] are about preserving their recreation area," Ms. Miller said.

Speakers contested whether elimination of the pool would leave the subdivision below the required 25 percent open space. Mr. Myerberg agreed in the 1970s to set aside 17.04 acres -- 25 percent of the development -- in open space. In exchange, county officials allowed him to increase the housing density. The development later was annexed into the city.

Land planning consultant Ronald E. Bailey contended last night that the pool had never been counted in the open space total. He said open ground around the apartments should be counted.

That arithmetic would allow conversion of the pool to housing lots, leaving the open space percentage close to the required total.

Mr. Bailey said the .88 acres that the homeowners' association deeded to the city government several years ago for a well should be "credited" to meeting the open space requirement.

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