Ypsilanti Township OKs 1st step in prohibiting street basketball
The ordinance is the result of the complaints from residents and neighborhood watch groups that groups of kids - and sometimes adults - pull portable basketball hoops to the end of their driveways or lawn extensions. That provides more room to play.
But Mike Radzik, director of the township's office of community standards, said residents are increasingly encountering groups who won’t stop their game and move for motorists, creating a dangerous situation.
"Playing in the street is dangerous," Radzik said. "The traditional parental send-off is not, 'Finish your dinner and go play in the street with the speeding cars and trucks.'
"Portable basketball hoops should be used on private property where kids can play safely out of traffic.
"Year after year, there has been an abundance of neighborhood complaints and no viable solution. We are hopeful this will resolve the issue."
Supervisor Brenda Stumbo said Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Jim Anuszkiewicz recommended the township develop an ordinance because there currently is no good way for officials to order games out of the street.
The Washtenaw County Road Commission has an encroachment policy regarding placing objects near the road that is based on state law, but it doesn’t have the staff to enforce it, Radzik said.
Residents playing basketball in streets, in cul-de-sacs, with hoops on lawn extensions or otherwise in the public right-of-way would be given a warning to pull their hoop back onto private property.
An adhesive notice would be placed on the hoop's pole stating that the hoop had to be moved.
If the hoop is still found to be in the public right-of-way after 24 hours, then it could be confiscated and the owner written a municipal civil infraction.
Municipal civil infraction fines range from $100 to $500, though officials weren't sure what this ticket would cost.
Radzik stressed that the township does not want to confiscate basketball hoops.
“The baseline of the policy is, like everything else, to try to achieve voluntary compliance if at all possible. And if it's not, we take least invasive route to get there,” Radzik said.
Hoops would be stored for 30 days before they were disposed of. The township would likely sell the metal to try to offset some costs.
There was some discussion at the meeting about contracting with a local company to pick up the hoops because summertime is the ordinance department’s busy season and it could take a significant amount of staff time.
Staff initially suggested a $50 fine to go with the civil citation to help cover the township’s costs, but Trustee Stan Eldridge said would prefer contract out responsibilities to avoid placing a greater burden on staff, then pass on the cost to the offenders.
“We may want to look at establishing a higher cost. I don’t want to offset cost, I want to cover the cost,” he said. “I don’t want to pay for people who don’t want to cooperate in the first place.”
Radzik said the problems have been reported in neighborhoods across the township, including Tremont, West Willow, Greene Farms and in neighborhoods off Holmes Road.