Munster bans sports structures on residential property

2012-05-01T20:00:00Z 2012-05-01T22:45:56Z Munster bans sports structures on residential propertyBy Lu Ann Franklin Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
May 01, 2012 8:00 pm  • 

MUNSTER | BMX tracks, skateboarding courses and ice skating rinks are no longer permitted on residential property.

The Munster Town Council has approved a public nuisance ordinance prohibiting sports-related activities and structures in yards "that cause continuous disturbances to affected neighbors." The ordinance amends Chapter 18 of the Munster Town Code.

The issue was brought to light during Town Council meetings in March. Residents of Beech Avenue spoke about a backyard BMX track built by the John Galambos family.

Some complained about the noise and lights coming from the track, especially after dark. Others supported the family.

"Although I'm in favor of this ordinance, I have a hard time with this issue because I feel we're stepping on individual rights," Ward 5 Councilman Andy Koultourides said. "However, I want to keep Munster the jewel it is."

Council President David Nellans, who represents Ward 4, said Munster residential lots aren't large, and athletic and sporting facilities in backyards detract from the usual residential atmosphere.

"In this size community, we need to make sure everything works. We have to reach a compromise and strike a happy medium," he said. "This ordinance gives our staff guidelines."

The ordinance specifically prohibits the maintenance, use or operation of a bicycle track or course; an ice skating rink; a skateboarding, roller skating or in-line skating track or course; and a full basketball court with two hoops.

It also defines a public nuisance as "any other athletic, sporting or related activity performed on residential property in such a way the noise, lights or an excessive number of participants interferes with the peace and quiet enjoyment of neighboring properties."

Violation notices are being issued to residents that include a time period to remove the structure.

Once that period has passed, the penalty is a fine of $250 per day until the nuisance is abated. The town also can take the resident to court if the nuisance isn't removed within an allotted period of time.

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