Residential skating rinks back up for discussion in Munster

2012-09-15T20:00:00Z 2012-09-15T23:15:29Z Residential skating rinks back up for discussion in MunsterLu Ann Franklin Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
September 15, 2012 8:00 pm  • 

MUNSTER | Backyard ice-skating rinks are one step closer to being allowed this winter in Munster.

The Town Council last week reviewed amendments to an ordinance approved in April that prohibited a variety of sports-related structures in residents’ yards. The structures were deemed public nuisances.

The ordinance specifically prohibits the maintenance, use or operation on private residential properties of bicycle tracks or courses; ice skating rinks; skate boarding, roller skating or roller blading tracks; or full-court basketball courts with two baskets.

In July, the council members listened to impassioned pleas from families and comments from town staff members about ice-skating rinks in a work session.

At that meeting, Pam Bailey said her family has built a structurally sound ice rink in its backyard each winter for about six years.

“We do put up lights because it’s dark by 4 p.m. People have lights on their pools,” Bailey told the Town Council. “We’ve never had the police come or had a neighbor complain.”

Town Engineer James Mandon said during the meeting that he found the ordinance discriminatory because it singles out specific sports. He recommended the council rewrite the ordinance as a law that gives guidelines for placement of sports structures.

The council asked town staff to rework the ordinance and bring it back for reconsideration.

That amended ordinance had its first reading Monday. Further changes were made after Pam Bailey and husband Bruce questioned two provisions of the rewritten document.

The ordinance will be brought back to the council Sept. 26.

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