Fight over a pool makes a splash in Marion, AR

John Dodson, in dispute with the city of Marion over a zoning law requiring him to build a fence around his pool.
John Dodson, in dispute with the city of Marion over a zoning law requiring him to build a fence around his pool.

(WMC-TV) - Right now there's a pool fight in a Mid-South community.  Neighbors say a homeowner needs to put a fence around his pool, but the homeowner says he's not breaking any laws.

The Dodson family says the mid-south heat is exactly why they wanted a pool.  After their subdivision was annexed in with the city of Marion, Arkansas, that pool became a problem.

"The fact that we get annexed doesn't make the pool any less or more safe," said John Dodson.

Dodson is in an ongoing dispute with the city of Marion regarding a zoning law that requires he build a fence around his pool.

"I wouldn't have put the pool where it was if I was required to put up a fence," Dodson said.

He claims he began construction on his pool before his neighborhood was annexed in 2007.

"I tried to explain that I started construction back in the fall so I was grandfathered in," Dodson said, "I was just completing construction that was already in progress."

The pool fight was dismissed in court twice in the past 5 years and Dodson believes it only resurfaced because of a disgruntled neighbor with an ax to grind.

"The only reason they're zeroing in on me is because of the lady that went to the city council and complained," Dodson stated.

We spoke with several of Dodson's neighbors who did not want to speak on camera but said their only concerns were pool safety.

Others in the area like the Hill family say it's only a matter of safety if you are not supervising your children.

"If you have kids and don't want them in my yard or swimming pool, watch them" Tina Hill said.

"It should be up to the owners whether they want to put them up or not because this was originally the country and not city limits," stated Lee Hill.

We tried to contact city attorney James Hale, but his office was closed due to the holiday.

As part of the American way, Dodson says it's his freedom to exercise his legal rights.

"I'm not required to put up a fence and that's my opinion and we'll let a judge decide on what we need to do," Dodson explained.

Dodson says at one point, the neighbor who complained about his pool used to come over to swim.  He believes it's a personal matter that has now become public.

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