County to remove old pool in Ellenwood

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent

As Henry Countians look ahead a month or two to when they will be getting their swimming pools ready to open for the summer, one Ellenwood residence is losing its pool thanks to a recent ruling by the Board of Commissioners.

The “unsecure inground swimming pool” at 1039 Strawberry Lane was deemed a public safety hazard and, after hearing a report from code enforcement officials, the board voted at its March 6 regular meeting to give staff the go-ahead to take action. The problems cited at the meeting included a “dilapidated security fence, gate, pool cover, and obnoxious vegetation growth.”

Several complaints had been filed with the code enforcement officer relating to the site, and an investigation determined it to be in violation of the unified land development code (ULDC), which requires an inground pool to have a safety fence and gate restricting access. The pool in question, located in the rear of a vacant property, has conditions that allow unrestricted access to children, officials said. That qualifies it as an “endangerment to public health and safety,” they added.

The pool cover has open spaces where children could fall through and be trapped, and the opening to the pool is disguised by an overgrowth of “obnoxious vegetation” which could hide vermin or insects, the staff report stated.

A number of violation notices sent by certified mail were returned unanswered, and the county could not locate a responsible party. The owner’s whereabouts are unknown, officials said.

All of this gives the county the authority to take action for “abatement/removal of a public nuisance” according to county code. The will likely include removal of the fence, gate, pool cover and vegetation while the pool itself is filled in with dirt. There is money in the budget to do this, but the code also calls for the county attorney to file suit on the county’s behalf in an attempt to recoup the $6,300 estimated cost.