Licking County News

City: Basketball hoops should not be in rights of way


Pataskala needs to find a way to prevent basketball hoops from being placed in the city's rights of way, according to City Planner Eric Fischer.

Fischer said there are 52 temporary basketball hoops on public streets in subdivisions now and more could surface once the weather warms.

He asked Pataskala City Council's safety and technology committee Feb. 17 to review city ordinance 311, which prohibits "any obstruction in or upon a street without proper authority."

It also prevents playing in the streets, stating, "No person on roller skates or riding in or by means of any sled, toy vehicle, skateboard or similar device shall go upon any roadway except while crossing a street on a crosswalk and except on streets set aside as play streets."

Fischer said it is difficult for service workers to plow streets and work around the basketball equipment, much of which remained in place after warm weather disappeared.

Committee members agreed Feb. 17 something needs to be done.

Council President Dan Hayes said most of the structures are portable and are on wheels so they could be wheeled back into a driveway or yard.

He said he has mixed feelings about the issue.

"There's nothing better this day and age than seeing kids playing outside," Hayes said.

City Councilwoman Melissa Gibson agreed. She said it is nice to see children playing outside, and asked how the city would police existing legislation.

Fischer said the city needs to enforce the law because the basketball hoops are a liability issue. He suggested trying to educate the public about the policy first.

Gibson said education would be good start and suggested sending out letters notifying residents of the issue.

She said the city needs to "plant the seeds" about the policy and hope the word will spread.

Hayes asked staff members to review the ordinance because, he said, it seems "anti-kid" as written.

Fischer said he would work with Law Director Rufus Hurst and determine if changes to the ordinance need to be presented to the committee and City Council in the