Tipp City officials may not score a lot of points with some residents but said they cannot allow a permanent basketball pole in the right of way in a neighborhood

Council heard late last year from a Michael Place resident who said a basketball pole and hoop had been used for some time by youth around the neighborhood. Scott Knick gave the city petitions signed by more than 20 people asking the city to allow the pole to remain.

City Manager Tim Eggleston said the pole was placed in concrete in the curb lawn.

He said the city law director was asked for a legal opinion on the city staff’s position the pole should be removed.

“I know certainly no one wants to stop kids from enjoying to play basketball and have a good time,” said Jonathan Freeman, city law director. “But, unfortunately, the way the law is and where the provision as far as the city is concerned, that basketball pole should not have placed in the right of way. It is near a water line.”

Since the issue of the pole came up, it has been hit and damaged, Freeman said, adding the bottom line was “it was improperly put there and need to obviously be removed.” A concrete base also will need removed.

Councilman John Kessler asked if the decision was cast in stone.

“A couple of neighbors said the pole had been there for years. I have been talking to neighbors. It is part of the small town feel everybody is trying to keep in this town,” Kessler said.

There was some disagreement over how long the permanent pole had been in place. Some said it was in use before a recent street project, while others argued it was not visible on preproject Google Maps. The age of those maps was questioned by Kessler.

Eggleston said the fixture is permanent as opposed to portable basketball units people will put out and then move back.

The police will ask people to move those units from the right of way when they are done using them.

Police Chief Eric Burris said officers will go around a couple of times a year to remind people who have portables to roll them back from the right of way when done. The stops usually are made in warmer weather, he said.

People are asked to move the units voluntarily and no tickets are issued, Burris said.

Kessler said he didn’t have a problem with the permanent pole, pointing out that vehicles park on sidewalks and there is a pop machine in the right away in town that was approved by an earlier council.

Councilmember Carrie Arblaster said she had no problem with portable units but said a permanent structure “is another animal.”

Councilman Tom Merritt questioned if someone should ask permission before digging a hole in the right of way and pouring concrete. “Are they asking themselves, ‘I wonder if this is the appropriate thing to do?’” Merritt said.