Source: Sherman Publications

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Council adopts amendments to skateboard ordinance

by CJ Carnacchio

May 16, 2012

After months of discussion, public input and revisions, the Oxford Village Council last week finally amended the municipality's ordinance regulating skateboards, scooters, rollerblades and bicycles.

By a 4-1 vote, council adopted new language that allows all four methods of non-motorized movement throughout the village, including the downtown area, when used "solely for human transportation."

"I think we've got something good here," said Councilman Elgin Nichols, who proposed most of the language changes shortly after being sworn into office during the May 8 meeting. "Sure, it's not perfect, but if we start working on perfection, we'll be here till it snows. I'd like to get this over with."

Council lowered the fines who those who violate the ordinance to $25 for the first offense and $100 for each offense thereafter. The previous fines ranged from $125 to $500.

The community service element of the punishment, which can mean up to 200 hours worth of work at the court's discretion, was also changed, so it can be meted out in addition to the monetary fine or in lieu of it.

Nichols also helped streamline the language concerning exactly what constitutes violations by eliminating redundant portions and rewording other sections to make them shorter and clearer, "so that people will understand what the ordinance really is."

Nichols explained the village planning commission, the other body on which he serves, has been attempting to take the ordinances and "cut them down" in order to make them "more precise."

He indicated ordinances seem to get "carried away" with attempting to define anything and everything, which makes them lengthy and difficult to comprehend.

"As far as defining every little word, I'm not into that," Nichols said.

The amended ordinance now states that it's unlawful to use any of the aforementioned modes of non-motorized transportation in such as way to "obstruct any public place, private property or business" or impede, obstruct or hinder "the free and uninterrupted passage of vehicles, traffic or pedestrians."

It's also unlawful to "obstruct the entrance to any public place . . . or any other place or building without so doing for some lawful purpose, if contrary to the expressed wishes of the owner, lessee, managing agent or person in control or in charge of the property."

Overall, council seemed pleased with the changes. "I believe that what we have on the table now is an improvement over what we had before," said Councilman Dave Bailey.