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City council to consider ban on skateboarding
Monday, January 21, 2013
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
A proposed ordinance amendment prohibiting skating and skateboarding uptown will be considered by Martinsville City Council on Tuesday.
The amendment stems from complaints about skateboarders damaging property at some locations in the central business district, including the former Henry County courthouse which has been refurbished.
The ordinance traditionally has banned anyone older than 14 years of age from skating on any public sidewalk in the city. Violations are considered a Class 4 misdemeanor, which is punishable by a $50 fine.
City Attorney Eric Monday said the ordinance was adopted many years ago before he started working for the city. Therefore, he did not know why the age restriction was included.
It would be up to the council to consider lifting the age restriction, he said.
Under the amendment, people would be prohibited from using roller skates, rollerblades, skateboards, scooters or similar devices uptown.
Violators would face either a $50 civil or criminal fine, depending on what police think is appropriate under the circumstances of individual incidents, according to Monday.
In drafting the amendment, Monday included a provision that it would not apply to police or other emergency services workers in the line of duty.
“I’d have a hard time picturing” police officers or firefighters responding to calls on roller skates or skateboards, he admitted.
However, he said he has heard of incidents elsewhere in which emergency officials responded to calls in unusual ways, so he included that stipulation “out of an abundance of caution.”
The council will consider the amendment when it meets at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the municipal building on West Church Street. Time will be allotted for the public to comment on the amendment.
Other agenda items will include:
• Hearing updates on the work of the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. and Team Cole & Associates. The latter is taking over management of the Martinsville Mustangs baseball team.
• Presenting a proclamation concerning Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
• Holding a public hearing on the city’s long-term highway construction priorities.
• Hearing a report on efforts to redevelop the former Henry Hotel.
• Considering issuing a local business a refund pertaining to business and professional license taxes paid in 2009.
• Making routine-type budget adjustments.
• Hearing business from the floor.
At 7 p.m., the council will meet in closed session to discuss a business or industry that is considering moving to, or expanding in, the area but so far has not announced that interest publicly.