As written today, the current University Park ordinances do not specifically mention sports equipment. We understand that there may be interest to ban ALL recreational items in front yards, which would be so sad for our family-oriented community and for the MANY families that move to our area for the schools and family environment. (We know it's what ATTRACTS people to University Park.)
We also understand that this particular issue regarding basketball hoops was addressed in 2006. We're not certain if this same hoop technology was in use at that time, or if acknowledgement of it was simply an oversight. Regardless, we respectfully ask that this issue be addressed with specific details to promote the health, safety and beauty of our City.
Perhaps the most important question that we're asking you to consider is this: what kind of basketball hoop most closely aligns with the City's desire for health, safety and beauty? On all points, we firmly believe that a professionally installed REPLACEABLE (bolted) hoop is the best choice.
Because the City writes the ordinances with the "health, safety and beauty" of our City in mind, these are the points we'll highlight back to the City:
- We should encourage kids to play outside and be active, as opposed to being sedentary with video games and television. Obesity is drastically on the rise, we should make convenient options available for children.
- Socially, a hoop brings kids together to play. They learn how to be a "good sport" and how get along well with others. They also learn about teams, friendly competition and camaraderie. Having a hoop at home helps kids to strengthen friendships.
- It's the safest option for our kids to gather in front of our houses, versus a park (and only ONE park in all of U.P. even has a hoop.) At home, kids can be carefully watched over, supervised, get hydrated and fed, all without the risk of stranger danger.
- Replaceable (bolted) hoop technology we have is the safest on the market...even safer than permanent technology that would be difficult to remove if the pole, rim or backboard was broken or bent. Because it is easily replaceable, it provides for the safest and most advanced options as they're released in the future, as well.
- The bolted technology removes all risk of blowing over or being knocked/pulled down. The alternative "approved" fully portable hoops pose a much greater risk of falling (a common occurrence, actually,) even when the base is filled to the manufacturer's recommendation. Many portable bases include a 50-gallon base for stability. With 50-gallons of water, the base alone would weigh 417 pounds. If filled with sand, it would weigh more than 600 pounds. At that point, the hoop becomes NOT portable, or completely unsafe if it's not filled all the way.
- Professional, replaceable hoops have a sleek, professional and unobtrusive design.
- This design is the preference of MOST people, in terms of aesthetic appeal.
- Front yards with circular or longer driveways allow for the hoop to be placed further from the road, and therefore passersby, than a side-yard installation, which is currently in alignment with the ordinance.
- Most basketball hoop sites list portable hoops as a less-expensive option if someone can't afford the replaceable technology. The insinuation is that the bolted technology is the best.
- We understand the discrepancy to be focused on "permanent fixtures" in the front yard.
The dictionary defines the word "permanent" as such: existing perpetually, everlasting, especially without significant change; or, intended to exist or function for an indefinite time without regard for foreseeable conditions. This does not describe bolted hoops, which can be removed and/or replaced by removing four nuts and simply lifting the unit off the bolts.
- We contacted several local basketball hoop installation companies to ask for their feedback and expertise. Their comments were consistently in agreement that they are asked to MOVE almost as many hoops as they're asked to install. They all indicated that this is a COMMON request due to people moving houses or doing construction.
The hoop installers indicated that it would take 30 minutes to de-install a hoop and replace it with a brand new one. It would take even less time to simply remove one.
This hoop is NOT PERMANENT and should NOT be considered as such. (You can remove and change a tire with just four nuts as well, right?!?)
We respectfully urge the City to consider opening the discussion for an amendment of this ordinance, as it relates to hoop technology. We know there is a win-win solution here where hoops - especially in spacious driveways- can be maintained to look beautiful throughout the years, if desired. With simple details regarding the three major components (the pole, net and backboard) a clear picture can be painted for what is allowable, safe and beautiful. i.e. NO rust, torn nets or broken backboard (and clear only.)
Please allow our children, friends and neighbors to play basketball safely in our front yards. We feel confident that this is truly the best solution to maintain the health, safety and beauty of our city, as outlined above. We completely align with the City in wanting to protect these issues and continue to entice people to live in University Park.
We humbly ask for your agreement to open this issue up for discussion and potential amendment.