Dilapidated pool concerns neighbors 'An accident waiting to happen,' woman says

July 28, 1996|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,SUN STAFF

The dilapidated swimming pool behind the vacant house in the 400 block of Marley Station Road is "just an accident waiting to happen," according to Audrey Bartlett, who lives nearby.

And she and her neighbors are frustrated in their efforts to get the owner of the house or the county to do something about it.

"I cannot believe the county and everybody else has let this go for this many years," fumed Bartlett, who lives on Phelps Avenue. "Somebody's going to get hurt one day. And then what are they going to say?"

The pool has been a regular topic of discussion at Gerard Plaza Improvement Association meetings, said Bartlett, the vice president.

She and others worry that children who walk by the house on their way to four schools could scramble over a knee-high brick fence or through a chest-high orange mesh fence, and fall into the pool and injure themselves.

Harriet Cavey, who has lived for 11 years on Sandsbury Avenue, around the corner from the house, said she frequently shoos children from the pool.

"The kids would be doddering around the pool. They would be on the edge of it, teetering and tottering. Sometimes one would go in back of the other, as if they were going to push them in," she said. "But they didn't. It's just hazardous sitting there."

Nicholas Andrews, the owner of the house, moved in 1989 to a home at the mouth of Dividing Creek near Magothy River in Severna Park and has let the house and pool empty ever since, neighbors say. He had the pool pumped out twice, once on May 23 after the county sent him a warning and again June 10 on his own initiative, said Spencer Franklin, acting director for the county's Community and Environmental Health Department. Now, rainwater collects in the pool.

Andrews hired contractor Al Gnau to break up the pool last month. Work began June 27, but stopped soon after that when Gnau went on vacation, Franklin said.

Gnau told county officials Tuesday that he needs a cutting torch to break through the pool's reinforced steel rods before work to fill the pool in with dirt can resume, Franklin said.

"He has been complying. It's just a little bit slower than we would like to see," he said.

Last week, Franklin said he would send a final notice to Andrews asking him to finish work on the pool, and a county sanitarian would drop by tomorrow to make sure the work had resumed.

Though residents have been complaining about the pool since Andrews moved, Franklin said, "It wasn't something we could address until it became a stagnant water situation. It has been an empty pool as far as we understand up until this year."

Andrews and Gnau did not return phone calls last week.

Pub Date: 7/28/96

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