The law passed 3-1. A second and final vote will be taken at next month’s regular meeting. Passage appears likely, as Commissioner Lee Holmes, who was absent from the meeting, was a strong supporter of the proposed ordinance when it was discussed at a recent commission workshop.
Under the terms of the new law, it will be unlawful to operate or ride a skateboard or skate on any public streets, sidewalks, rights of way located within the town’s Commercial Tourist Facility district, or public property anywhere in the town.
The CTF district includes Gulf Boulevard and the area west from Coral Avenue to 177th Terrace. Most of the complaints about skateboarding activities have come from that part of town. Also included is the east side of Gulf Boulevard in that same area.
Prohibited within the entire town is skateboarding or skating on any public access ramps or ramps for handicapped persons, publicly owned benches, railings, planters, ceramic-tiled walkways, steps and curbs. Use of skateboards, roller skates and inline skates on any public or private property within the town is also prohibited where conspicuously located signs with the words “No skating” or “No skateboarding” or a similar message are placed.
Violations of the ordinance are subject to a warning for the first offense, followed by a $25 fine and surrender of the skateboard, roller skates, or inline skates for a period of 10 days for the second offense and 30 days for each subsequent offense.
Town Attorney James Denhardt stressed that skateboarding is not totally banned throughout the town, but only in the CTF district. But it is prohibited anywhere in Redington Shores on public property, including the parks, and private property where “No Skateboarding” signs are erected.
Little comment was made in favor of the ordinance prior to the vote. But Commissioner Casey Wojcik was quick to criticize it. Wojcik, the lone “no” vote, called the law “a spontaneous rush to judgment” that ignores the town’s changing demographics. That includes kids who need to exercise and play, he said.
Wojcik said it is appropriate to protect property rights, but the ordinance provides only part of the solution.
“Skateboarding is part of what kids do. How can we serve them as well?” he said. “If these areas are not suitable (for skateboarding), which are?”
Wojcik said he manages projects for a living. He urged the commission to take the time “to develop a creative solution” that takes into account both the kids’ and property owners’ needs.
“I acknowledge the problem, but I can’t support this,” Wojcik said. “Kids are going to skate no matter what we do.”
Wojcik also questioned whether the town has any control over activities on Gulf Boulevard, which is a state road. Denhardt said the state law has nothing specific on skateboarding so the town can decide what to do.
In a comment after the meeting, Wojcik said the town needs to provide a place for kids to skateboard. He mentioned Constitution Park as a possible skate park site.
Redington Shores could benefit from a skate park similar to one the city of Largo is building, said Josh Ross, owner of Shoreline Skate Shop. That city is constructing a 7,000-square-foot skateboarding facility at a cost of about $150,000, he said. Ross offered to help raise the money to build a similar park in Redington Shores, which would cost the taxpayers nothing.
“Just give us a spot to put it,” Ross said.
The commissioners did not comment on Ross’s offer.
Town Commission meetings online
The Town Commission’s regular meetings held each month are now being streamed live on the Internet, in addition to cable TV broadcast, Wojcik said. New equipment purchased by the town has now been installed and allows this service.
In the near future, a second link will present an archive of past commission meetings so residents will be able to click on that link, search for the meeting they want to revisit, and the meeting will be viewable from the archive.
The archived meetings will be available as soon as a glitch in the system is worked out, Wojcik said.
July 4th fireworks donations needed
The Fourth of July is a big day for Redington Shores, Wojcik said. The town’s fireworks display is “talked about for weeks,” he said.
Donations from individuals and businesses are needed to support the continuation of the fireworks event, he said.