Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Panel Hears Hoop-De-Do over Basketball Poles

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Panel Hears Hoop-De-Do over Basketball Poles

Article excerpt

March Madness dribbled its way into the St. Louis County Planning Commission as commissioners heard residents tell of the vices and virtues of free-standing basketball poles.

The St. Louis County Council had asked the commission to look into the matter after receiving a number of letters, some pro, some con, from residents in unincorporated parts of the county.

Several people had complained that neighbors were positioning their free-standing basketball standards so that any missed shots would land in a neighbor's yard. In the process, "someone's yard or garden gets trampled," said Glenn Powers, county land use supervisor.

Last week's public hearing centered on whether the commission should recommend to the council that basketball poles be exempt from the setback requirements that govern all other residential structures, such as decks and sheds. Although setback requirements vary according to the density of the zoning, they average 20 feet for front yards, six to 10 feet for side yards and 15 feet for back yards.

Commissioner Bob Mabry asked Powers if residents cited for having their poles too close to their property lines could get relief from the county's board of zoning adjustment. Powers said the board would hear such cases, but that it granted waivers only if a property owner had no other alternative for getting full use out of the land.

The adjustment board does not consider whether an alternative would be expensive or inconvenient for the property owner.

Donna Phelan, a resident of Parc Argonne subdivision in north St. Louis County, said she was facing just such a situation. After receiving a citation from the county for having her family's basketball pole too close to their property line, Phelan looked into having a pole erected in her back yard.

The basketball hoop went up on her garage after she decided the $3,000 cost to transplant the pole was prohibitive. The hoop will remain on the garage until the county resolves the matter, she said. …

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