Final Vote Ends Hoop Debate

After weeks of conversation on the topic, it looks like the clock has finally run out on Erin Schreyer’s basketball hoop issue.

On the July 2 meeting, the University Park City Council seemed to think that front yard equipment had been fully investigated by committees in 2006, but no vote was taken to resolve the issue one way or another. On July 16, they left no room for doubt, denying any chance to amend the ordinance.

“I just don’t know why we’re opening that box,” Councilman Bob Begert said in the work session prior to the meeting.

In 2006 after multiple committee reviews, the City Council banned any permanent structures from front yards, allowing only temporary equipment such as basketball hoops anchored by sand or water. When Schreyer received notice that her hoop was out of code, she claimed that the temporary versions are not only more likely to topple over, but also less aesthetically pleasing.

“Humbly, I request you to consider,” Schreyer said. “Frankly, a portable base is simply not as safe.”

Schreyer’s post is secured by four removable bolts instead of a concrete slab in the ground, so she considers it semi-permanent. Though she has received much support from her neighbors, one other resident in the audience didn’t see it the same way.

“I think these front-yard basketball hoops are not aesthetically pleasing,” University Park resident Mark Hardin said. “I would hope that you ban them all together.”

Ultimately, the vote showed that council members didn’t want to discuss it any longer. But one saw things from Schreyer’s point of view.

“I don’t look at this basketball goal as being fixed; it is detachable,” Councilman Tommy Stewart said of the 2006 issue. “I think it is much safer than the basketball goals that are filled with water and sand that I’ve seen blow over in high winds.”

Stewart was the only dissenting vote, and the issue was put to rest.

4 thoughts on “Final Vote Ends Hoop Debate

  • July 18, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    Basketball goals are a no-no, but pink and purple Indian goddesses (along with some half-nude females) used as yard art are A-OK! Once again, common sense rules! Perhaps, this family should have claimed it was yard art? This is so ridiculous. I think we were trying to reopen the box because the first decision was stupid, Mr Begert. Let’s go after the LAX nets and trampolines next. Then, everyone can safely play inside, and all the curmudgeons can be pleased that they don’t have to look at those offensive kids sporting devices.

    Please no lectures on the removable nets either. Mine was stolen two days after I moved into my home.

  • July 18, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    After analyzing the arguments on both sides of this issue for quite some time, I’ve come to two conclusions: (1) folks are equivocating on the concept of “aesthetically pleasing,” and (2) folks don’t understand the concept of relative permanence (cf. the notion of “fixtures,” if you’re a lawyer).

    (1) As to aesthetics, the question involves more than whether the item in question is, in and of itself, ugly. Rather, the question is whether the object is ugly in context. Some commenter a week or so ago raised the issue of a leather couch in her neighbor’s front yard. It might be a gorgeous couch. Might be the most luxurious, expensive, beautiful couch anyone has ever seen, in and of itself. What makes it an eyesore is the context. What makes it ugly is that it’s in someone’s front yard, and does not belong there. I grew up very poor, in a very poor part of Dallas. One of my parents’ friends (?) had a habit of parking his Firebird on our front lawn. If I were to start parking a new Jaguar on my front lawn in UP today, no one would likely say my car was ugly per se; but it would be ugly to the eye nevertheless, because it would be WILDLY INAPPROPRIATE to do so.

    (2) As to whether four bolts into concrete or a container of sand is more or less permanent, the law is clear, as is common sense. Affixing physical objects to other physical objects has consequences, both in the real world and in the legal world, be the affixation accomplished with one screw or a thousand. Ask anyone who’s ever bought or sold a house. That people can’t accept the difference between a movable object and an affixed object is a head scratcher. Saying, “But it CAN be moved, if we remove these bolts!” is like saying, “But I CAN perform heart surgery . . . if I go to medical school, learn the procedure, and become licensed!”

  • July 19, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Z- Both points right on, especially the second one. The resident actually tried to put the Council on the spot Tuesday by asking them if they have ever changed a tire, equating a tire bolted to a car to her basketball hoop bolted into the ground. Nonsense! Both are designed not to move.

  • July 19, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Z, I still fail to understand what is so aesthetically DISpleasing about a basketball goal. It’s not like it is sitting on the front lawn in fire engine red. I think most homeowners would rather have one like this family’s than the large (mostly immovable) ones with the huge bases. I fail to see the wild INappropriateness of a basketball goal in someone’s yard. There was one elderly woman who used to have a volleyball net and chairs set up in her yard on a regular basis to attract the local teens to her home. Everytime I rode past her home, it, along with the chairs, was always there. How is this any less aesthetically pleasing? I worked for a developer for years with very strict HOA guidelines, and sports equipment was allowed. Just how common is the banishment of this equipment anyway??

    If the “movable” goals are in the front yard, what exactly is the difference between this and a “semi-affixed” goal anyway? Aren’t they the same thing aesthetically?


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