St. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. ( -- In the Monticello West neighborhood a hot day like Thursday would normally mean tons of kids and parents swimming. But the pool is empty and the gates are locked.

Homeowners like Brian Tredway couldn't believe it when they got a letter stating the neighborhood pool will remain closed for the 2020 season.

Residents of three different subdivisions overseen by the same H.O.A. were also upset to learn no refunds of the annual assessment would be issued. They pay $325 a year and more than 1,000 homeowners pay the assessment.

“I think with the number of people that paid into this to just not even have the option is a little ridiculous,” said homeowner Jason Glenn.

Homeowners are now circulating a petition They say they are willing to practice social distancing and even reserve time slots to swim.

“I was furious since we live in St. Charles County and most things are open out here,” said resident Kim Coleman.

The H.O.A. board consists of volunteers, and they consult with an attorney.

Attorney Sarah Bueltmann said the main issue comes down to liability.

While other neighborhood pools around the area might be open, she says opening the Monticello pools is more risky.

“In this particular subdivision, they have a specific exclusion in their insurance policy having to do with communicable diseases. Not all insurance policies have that,” she said. “A waiver serves as a deterrent. It does not prevent someone from filing a lawsuit. It simply does not. It serves a layer of protection in the event of a lawsuit but it’s not a slam dunk.”

So what about refunds? Without paying lifeguards and daily maintenance, residents say there will be savings.

Bueltmann said in that event, a surplus would be taken into consideration for next year’s budget, so there is a possibility of an assessment break or refund.

She did not rule out the possibility that things could change as the summer progresses, because the situation is under constant evaluation.

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved


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