Middlebrooke fight nearing settlement

August 05, 1994|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Sun Staff Writer

The Middlebrooke Homeowners Association and developers

George F. and Timothy Grogan, who own the closed swimming pool in the Westminster subdivision, have reached an agreement that may end two years of dispute.

The association, the city government and developers will ask Carroll Circuit Judge Francis M. Arnold to send the Grogans' development proposal back to the City Council.

George Grogan and son Timothy filed suit in September seeking to overturn the council's denial of their request to change the property's use from recreational to residential.

They initially sought $141,320 in damages, but Judge Arnold dismissed the damage claim in May.

The Grogan family needed the change in use because they planned to raze the pool and build houses.

Middlebrooke residents fought the proposal, arguing that when they bought their homes, sales agents had told them the pool and surrounding area would remain community open space.

The agreement will clear the way for the Grogans to submit a development proposal for three houses to the City Council.

The developers have agreed to turn over a half-acre of the 1.2-acre property to the homeowners association.

Lawrence Wiskeman, a Middlebrooke resident who has been active in negotiating a settlement, said the association has no plans other than to preserve the land as open space.

He said the dispute might have been resolved sooner if the Grogans had been willing to involve the community in their plans.

"Since the community completely surrounds [the Grogan property], we thought we should be included," he said.

Association lawyer E. Suzan Miller said the residents were sorry to lose the pool, which was an amenity, but happy to add open space.

"The association wants areas for members of the community to go to walk or play or whatever they want to do," she said.

Attorney John C. Murphy, who represents the developers, said they were happy to have a settlement and were ready to go ahead with development.

He said the Grogans do not have a subdivision plan ready to submit because the agreement was reached only this week.

George Grogan could not be reached for comment yesterday.

City Council President Kenneth A. Yowan said he had not seen the agreement but did not expect the council to oppose it.

"I would think that if an agreement cam be reached that is satisfactory to Mr. Grogan and the Middlebrooke residents, I don't see why the council would stand in the way," he said.

George Grogan, Timothy Grogan and Timothy's wife, Linda Grogan, closed the swimming pool in 1991, saying they could not operate it at a profit.

They bought it in 1988 from City Wide Management Co. Inc., which had operated the pool since it opened in the mid-1970s.

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