MUNSEY PARK, a well-to-do village on Long Island, has lots of rules for its 2,700 residents. Major changes to a house must be approved by the village trustees, an elected board. Trustees often decide what homeowners may build or place around their homes. No fences are allowed. Big plantings are a no-no. Even putting a basketball hoop in one’s own yard needs permission. And the trustees, having determined that street basketball is a menace, have now effectively banned it.
“It’s not about regulating play,” says Patrick Hance, the trustee who proposed the measure. “You can play [basketball] in your yard. Put a hoop in your yard or at the top of the driveway.” But residents may not erect a hoop, not even a roll-away one, near the kerb. The trustees do not want the picturesque tree-lined streets to be lined with basketball hoops. They voted unanimously for the ban on February 12th after one homeowner challenged the existing law, which allowed the trustees to grant permits on a case-by-case basis. The village says the measure is necessary for safety as well as aesthetic reasons.
Munsey Park is not alone. In July Ypsilanti Township in Michigan banned street basketball. Some hoops were confiscated. In December, citing safety concerns, a gated community in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, passed a bylaw banning street play. This seems slightly at odds with the...Continue reading