A year later:
Pool built to help child, but criticism remains

Article Courtesy of the Naples Daily News
Posted on January 5, 2004

After more than a year of pushing to have a specially sized pool installed in his North Naples backyard, Kelly Paffel has had success. 

At a Dec. 16, 2003, Collier County commissioners meeting, a building permit was approved for the pool. Construction on the pool began on a conditional permit before that meeting, and the pool was completed about three weeks ago, Paffel said. 

It isn't the resolution Paffel would have liked, though, he said. 

"The county people themselves did an excellent job of accommodating my son's requirements," Paffel said. "They did the right thing, unlike the association I live in, who did everything not to accommodate him." 

Paffel's 4-year-old son, Devon, suffers from cerebral palsy, a disorder which affects movement, especially muscle coordination and control. 

The condition is improved by aquatherapy, and when the Paffels moved to Naples in August 2002, they thought they would be able to build the pool outlined in their Kimball Hill Homes plan. That pool edged 5 feet into a public lake easement behind their new Pebblebrook Lakes development home. 

But in September 2002, the homeowner's association architectural review committee denied Kimball Hill a variance to build the pool. Paffel appealed to the review committee in October 2002, requesting a hardship variance, and offering to reduce the size of the pool by a foot. That was request denied, as was another request Paffel made in February 2003. 

Also around that time, Paffel filed a complaint with the Department of Housing for a violation of the Fair Housing Act. 

Then, in late July 2003, the Pebblebrook Lakes Master Association opted to reverse all previous variance denials and agreed to grant a variance request, provided Paffel dropped his complaint. 

The new variance would allow the pool to encroach 3 feet into the easement, as long as county approval could be received. The Paffels learned the South Florida Water Management District had no objection to the encroachment into the easement, and applied for a pool building permit from the county. 

A conditional permit was issued about three months ago, and construction of the pool began. 

Since the heated pool was completed, Paffel said his son has used it as often as possible. He is pleased that the pool is in, but said it doesn't represent a win. 

It still isn't the size originally planned by Kimball Hill Homes, Paffel said, and Devon has had to wait more than a year to use it. 

"There is no victory," he said. "My son was hurt for over a year for what? For what?"