Family’s Goal is to Keep Their Permanent Front-Yard Hoop

Evan Schreyer, 9, and sister Ella, 7, hope they can keep the basketball goal in front of their home on Colgate. (Staff photo: Chris McGathey)

Evan Schreyer, 9, and sister Ella, 7, hope they can keep the basketball goal in front of their home on Colgate. (Staff photo: Chris McGathey)

All Erin Schreyer wanted was to have a safe and sleek basketball hoop for her children to use. But this month, the University Park resident was told her front yard was out of code.

“We love the city, and we paid a lot of money for our house, too, and we want it to be beautiful, too,” Schreyer said. “That’s why we got the goal we did.”

Ultimately, it comes down to construction. Portable hoops, such as ones anchored by gallons of water or sand, are allowed, but anything secured by concrete or screws is not.

Schreyer’s is secured by four screws, which technically could still be removed. But the hoop style is considered “semi-permanent,” and therefore out of code. After suggesting the Schreyers replace their hoop with a portable one, a June 8 letter from the city said officials appreciate the family’s “cooperation to maintain a healthy, safe, and beautiful place to live.”

“It’s not safe, and it’s ugly,” Schreyer said of the suggested portable style. “It does none of those things.”

She fears that the bottom-heavy water and sand styles are easy for children to knock over because of the uneven weight distribution.

Once they received the letter, the Schreyers had one week to resolve the issue before they were subject to a fine. The mother of two decided to take matters into her own hands and call the city.
Robbie Corder, director of community planning, encouraged her to voice her concerns to the city manager, Bob Livingston, through a letter. After all, University Park has a history of issues with front-yard sports gear.

In the summer of 2006, the City Council was headed toward a ban of portable basketball hoops, until a public outcry changed officials’ minds. That decision came about a decade after University Park outlawed permanent hoops like the one in the Schreyers’ front yard.

Later in ’06, the city opened its first basketball courts at Burleson Park. But Schreyer likes being able to adjust the height of her own hoop for younger children.

After her conversation with Corder, Schreyer sent a letter to Livingston, who said the issue would be presented to the council as a discussion item, most likely on July 2 or 16.

“We appreciate giving kids the opportunity to play basketball in our driveway and will continue to do so,” Schreyer said.

By Sarah Bennett Jul. 1, 2013 | 8:57 am | 20 Comments | Comments RSS
  • HP75

    Who was here first, the ordinance or the family?

  • Bob

    I agree with the mom in the article. Her hoop can be easily removed and is far safer and more esthetic than portables. Sometimes I feel like I live in a communist country with really nice lawns and clear alleys with garbage can lids nicely attached. I suggest we ban all outside athletic equipment including bikes/balls etc… and just sit the kids infront of an XBox.

  • HP85

    Good grief, this dead horse again? Quit whining. Quit thinking the rules don’t apply to you and your particular family. For that matter, all the portable hoops should be banned from front yards as well. (How can anyone not have room to sink a pole with a hoop in their back yard?) How about this for a rule: If you can’t fit a piece of recreational equipment in your back yard, THEN YOU DON”T GET TO HAVE IT. BECAUSE GUESS WHAT, YOU DON”T HAVE ROOM FOR IT. We don’t want to see it. Folks build out until their back yards are the size of postage stamps, and they want the rest of us to pay the penalty, by having to look at their recreational structures and sports gear. I could set up a bunch of crap from my garage in my front yard, too, but I don’t. As for this woman, follow the law, and quit everyone’s time. Next.

  • NFW

    Can someone please help me understand what is so unsightly about a basketball hoop in someone’s yard???? I don’t like my neighbor’s ugly yard art, but I’m stuck with it. It’s trailer park trashy, but it’s a free country (barely) so they get to keep it. HP85, it is also their property, and freedom of private property is still a right. You live in a neighborhood filled with kids. Get over that.

  • GM

    Put another way: “I know what the rules are, but they conlfict with what I want, so I will put this up and hope no one notices. If they do, I will complain about how unfair the rule is, even though I knew what it was before I did this”.

    In the end, as always, it’s about doing what’s best for you, others be damned.

  • Avid Reader

    Agree with HP85 and GM. Want a goal in your front yard; get the code changed first. Enough with the public outcry for support when this is entirely self imposed. Follow the code. A city’s gotta have a code.

  • HP75

    UP Staff should have dealt with this quickly without wasting everyone’s time. There’s something dysfunctional about dragging up the same subject for public debate every two years just because Super Mom knows how to get herself some front page headlines. How many hundreds of code violations are corrected by Staff everyday without all this drama?

  • Pollyanna

    We happen to live on the Schreyers’ block and are thankful that most of you posters above don’t live there!! They were not aware of the restriction when they installed the goal. Once they were cited, they sent an email to the neighbors and there was OVERWHELMING support to KEEP the goal! Our block is a double block full of empty nesters, retired folks, and young families. The goal is a gathering place for the younger kids that we all enjoy watching play. They are out playing and not inside playing video games. We have had several alley goals. They don’t encourage neighborhood participation nor are they safe unless you have a gate. You have to put out orange cones in the alley to alert traffic to errant balls and children. This is a restriction that needs to be reevaluated or deserves a variance if the neighbors concur. The Schreyers have installed a tasteful goal that can be removed with 4 bolts. If we are going to regulate taste, let’s talk paint colors, yard decor, etc. It’s time to revisit the ordinance.

  • Avid Reader

    @Pollyanna, Your block sounds awesome. Love when kids are outside playing with the neighbors, all valid points. Points that get brought up every other year when some resident decides they are don’t have to follow rules like all other residents. I can appreciate on a very base level someone new to the city not knowing the code restriction. Now that they are aware, by all means email everyone you know and their dog to get some community input/interest. Get in front of the city council and try to get the code changed. In the meantime, take the goal down.

  • M

    I’d rather look at a BB hoop in the front yard than a street lined with cars because garages are full of crap or they’re too lazy to park in the driveway.

  • CP

    I think I saw this on SNL in the skit white people problems. I really like her logic that since she paid a lot of money for the house than the ordinance should not apply to her home.

  • Erin Schreyer

    For the record, folks, we DID research the ordinance BEFORE installing our goal. The ordinance as it is written today makes NO mention of sports or recreational equipment. Furthermore, the only thing it says about items in the front yard is that they cannot be PERMANENT. Our hoop is NOT permanent. It can be removed. AND, several hoop companies have weighed in to say that they move them all the time.

    The City is being kind enough to allow us to keep the hoop while this is being addressed. We’re not going against anyone or anything.

    The fact of the matter is that this Ordinance was written when hoops had to be installed in concrete and couldn’t be removed. That’s not how hoop technology is today, so this only requires a simple revision to include this technology (which is FAR more aesthetically appealing and SAFER than a portable hoop with a large base for stability.)

    This is a SIMPLE matter than can be addressed easily. Think about how many changes in your life exist because of technological advances. Can you imagine if all the rules of life didn’t allow for them? The world adjusts as things advance. This is just one of those cases.

  • HP75

    Oh Lord, we have a SCREAMER here! Hey lady, for the record, using all caps just makes you look even more crazy.

  • Dre

    Umm, technological advances? Screws in concrete are not technological advances. They been around a long time.

  • Hmmm

    HP75, that’s so rude. Just because you might disagree doesn’t mean you need to be disrespectful.

  • blog whisperer

    @HP75. Ms. Schreyer’s comment is helpful and her emphasizing some words, with caps or italics or whatever, is also helpful. They knew about the ordinance, thought they were in compliance, and now want the city to clarify the rules. This is a far cry from the idea that she thought she could do whatever she wanted because her house is expensive. Your comment is unnecessarily insulting.

  • HP75

    All she wanted was clarification of the ordinance? Oh ok, so thats why she put her little darlings on the front page of the newspaper. To get clarification. Right.

  • Sam Tamborello

    Hey HP75, please tell us more about “the hundreds of code violations corrected by UP staff everyday” and as you say above? Sounds like you are real familiar with the UP administration. I’m chuckling.

    Maybe the Code Dept. in UP could weigh in on these “hundreds of code violations everyday.” Sounds fishy HP75. Can we get your real first and last name so that we can all get a really good laugh about your representations.

  • bob

    …and the struggle continues. We had our code approved portable come down hard on our 9 year old in front of our eyes. Not something any parent wants to see. Trust me on that one. The immediate bruise on the arm caused concern. A trip to Questcare ruled out a fracture. Certainly could have been worse. I hope this code gets changed before I get West Nile (since I don’t have chickens in the backyard to eat mosquitos).

  • XT

    @bob,

    “and the struggle continue”? This isn’t exactly the civil rights movement.

    Really though, I agree that this hoop should have been allowed, seems like a technicality at best. Frankly, the fact that their are trampolines, lacrosse goals, soccer goals, etc. allowed, makes this code violation somewhat ridiculous. I don’t agree with how they went about this, but in the end, it actually looks better then thhe portables.

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