A family in the Gateway Greens community will learn today whether or not the Board of Supervisors will allow them to build a pool within their fenced-in back yard.

While the Gateway Services District doesn’t actually provide permits for the construction of pools, there is an issue in this case with an area of the homeowner’s property that is known as a Lake Maintenance Easement.

Basically, if you live in a home with a pond in your back yard the district has the right to access your property within 20 feet of the pond bank in order to perform any maintenance or repairs. They do not need your permission, and the GSCDD can also grant its contractors access your property to perform district-authorized work as well.

For that reason, any permanent structures that are within the 20 foot boundary of the pond bank must have a Non-Disturbance and Encroachment Agreement between the homeowner and the GSCDD.

The homeowner who wants to build a pool wants the edge of their pool to be about 15 feet from the pond bank, meaning their pool would encroach on to the LME by approximately 5 feet. So even though the pool is on property they own, they still need the GSCDD’s permission to build the pool in the location they want to.

In order to accommodate the LME the homeowners have agreed they would remove or destroy the pool at their expense with 45 days notice from the district – provided the district has exhausted all other options to perform the work without the pool interfering.

The Gateway Sun knows the identity of the homeowners and their property address but we are choosing not to publish that information.

GSCDD staff have recommended against allowing the pool plan to proceed, citing the need to possibly access that property in the future. However, your elected Supervisors are the ones who will make the final decision on this matter, which they are expected to do today.

It isn’t as though the board members woke up this morning and said “You know what? I feel like ruining a family’s plan to build a pool today!”

But they do have to be cautious against setting a precedent. And for that reason, I believe they will follow the staff’s recommendation and deny the encroachment request. If they allow this encroachment then how can they deny other people’s similar requests?

The board members cannot predict what the GSCDD’s needs will be in the future so it’s probably best to just say that 20 feet means 20 feet. No permanent structures on the LME. That’s it.

Hopefully the family can devise a way to build their pool without encroaching on the LME. Because having your own pool is pretty awesome.

Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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