There's little skating by in Newport Beach

June Casagrande

NEWPORT BEACH -- Hoping to prevent further damage to McFadden Square

and other public areas, the city's Parks, Beaches and Recreation

Commission on Thursday will consider broadening the city's restrictions

on skateboarding.

A proposed ordinance, expected to be considered by the City Council on

Jan. 22, extends restrictions on skateboarding to any area in the city's

parks with a 6% or greater slope. It also prohibits skateboarding on

brickwork and ornamental surfaces; on things such as picnic tables,

benches, planter walls and hand rails; and on tennis, basketball and

other courts.

"What this really does is gives the city some enforcement power," said

Dave Niederhaus, the city's general services director.

Niederhaus said the ordinance that passed in 2000, which prohibits

skateboards on certain streets and public areas, hasn't done enough to

protect public areas.

"Some of the kids cause damage to city property," Niederhaus said. "In

almost every park in the city, you can see this kind of damage."

Most notably, he pointed out, decorative Spanish tile at McFadden

Square has been seriously damaged by skateboard use.

"This ordinance will give police the power to go out there when they

get a call about skateboarding and either tell the kids to stop or cite

them or do what they have to to stop the problem," Niederhaus said.

Mayor Tod Ridgeway said he would support an ordinance that protects

residents from nuisances created by skateboarders. Property damage, he

pointed out, is just one reason.

"There's also the issue of safety," Ridgeway said. "The conflict

between bicyclists, pedestrians and skateboarders makes a dangerous

combination."

* June Casagrande covers Newport Beach. She may be reached at (949)

574-4232 or by e-mail at o7 june.casagrande@latimes.comf7 .

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