Houston woman faces legal fight after converting pool into pond

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Houston woman who converted her pool into a pond faces legal issues after her neighbor complained about critters.

The home is on Haywood Drive in southeast Houston. George Collins has spent years converting her property into a natural paradise.

"There's a native ground cover in the shade," Collins pointed out to Eyewitness News. "There's native prairie grasses that pop up in the sun."

One of her favorite natural features can be found in the water. "This is a fish pond," Collins explained. "I've naturalized it."

Her pool is now stocked with plenty of fish and plants. "It is not algae, it is duck weed," Collins said.

Collins said she once had a native habitat permit from the city, but it was lost because the city said she can't have the pool.

The health department said they've received several complaints from her neighbor who's worried about mosquitoes and raccoons.

He wouldn't talk to ABC13 on camera, but he told us he's complained because the yard is a "mess." The health department cited Collins.

They say a pool can't be converted to a pond because of health risks, including drowning and mosquitoes. She's scheduled to go to court next month.

The city parks and recreation department issues the native habitat permits. The agency said pending litigation preventing them from commenting on Collins permit.

Although she faces thousands in fines, Collins says she plans to fight to keep her escape afloat.

"It's not a swimming pool," Collin said. "It's a fish pond. Let me get a variance. They won't give me a variance, so I have to go to court."

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