Skateboarding banned on Polk County public roads

Published 12:59 pm Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Board passes ordinance after complaints

 

POLK COUNTY—After a public hearing on Monday, October 16, the Polk County Board of Commissioners passed an ordinance banning skateboarding on public roads.

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Section one of the ordinance states that “it shall be unlawful for any person to operate a skateboard on a public street or road within any area of the county.” 

Skateboarding on a public road in Polk County will now be a class 3 misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500 dollars or up to 30 days in jail. 

Polk Attorney Jana Berg showed a video about the dangers of skateboarding on the mountain roads of Polk County, and read from the ordinance. Berg said, “As a result of the mountain terrain in the county, public roadways are often constructed on steep slopes using switchbacks and zig-zag sections of roadway.”

Chairman Tommy Melton said many citizens wrote in regarding their opposition to the skateboarders on the mountainous roads, and several Polk residents attended the hearing and meeting and addressed the Board in person.

Claudia Mitchell, who has owned property on White Oak Mountain since 1995, wrote a letter to each Board member after having a close call and nearly hitting a skateboarder. 

“I want to say thank you to each of you,” said Mitchell. “We’re excited to have this ordinance passed.”

Resident Mel Collins addressed the Board, saying “I’d like to thank the Polk County leaders for addressing the clear danger of skateboarding. Most of our residents have reported near catastrophic misses, which could have led to fatalities or serious injuries.” Local Wendy Hamill also said the skateboarders “encroach on communities and endanger the public.”

Resident Robert Spearmen said that it’s just a matter of time before someone gets killed. “I don’t want my family to run off the edge of the road and possibly get killed avoiding a line of skateboarders,” he said.

Commissioner Myron Yoder told those in attendance that he was concerned about the issue because tax-paying citizens, whom he was elected to represent, were concerned. Yoder admitted he hasn’t had any experiences with skateboarders, and said there’s a “distinct difference in bicycles and skateboards on the mountain roads.”

“There are skateparks in Hendersonville and Asheville. There are places for (skateboarders) to go,” said Yoder. 

“When I first heard of this several years ago, I couldn’t grasp that we had skateboarders coming down the mountain,” said Melton. “The homeowners up there deserve peace and quiet and safety on their roads.” 

The motion for the ordinance passed unanimously, to the applause of those in attendance.

 

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