Village amends code to allow street ball-playing


Children can now legally play basketball in the streets of Rockville Centre after the Village Board of Trustees closed a decade-old gap in the Village Code by adding a new statute at its meeting on May 7.

“There was actually a law in our books that said kids can’t play ball in the street, and that’s ridiculous,” trustee Michael Sepe told the Herald, alluding to a section in the Village Code. He added that the board came across it while addressing recent concerns from residents, some of whom expressed dismay that basketball hoops could block traffic, or look bad if not maintained properly.

One resident, the Herald previously reported, addressed the trustees at a meeting in November 2016, calling the hoops “visual noise” and contesting that they were a danger to both children and motorists.

The new statute, which allows residents to use basketball hoops and nets in or next to public streets, passed unanimously after a public hearing and was effective immediately. Although the local law outlines that belongings cannot be left on the street, it was amended to allow recreational equipment, such as hoops.

However, there are restrictions. The hoops cannot be placed on sidewalks, or be left in the street if not being actively used. They also cannot be put on their side — because that makes them look like trash, according to Sepe — and they must be moved if they are interfering with street sweeping or snow removal.

Additionally, the code section that prohibits children from playing ball in the streets has been removed, Sepe said. He added that although this rule was never enforced, it is “antiquated” and a legitimate concern for a community with a high volume of children.