By Debbie Carson, Online Editor
VERO BEACH — Skateboarders are not welcome in several areas in Vero Beach, according to updated rules the Vero Beach City Council approved this week. The rules were passed 4-1, with Councilman Kevin Sawnick, who says he skateboards, casting the dissenting vote without comment.
The Vero Beach City Council approved an ordinance that clarifies where in the city skateboarders – and other similar modes of travel – are not allowed to go. Such areas include the business districts in downtown, central beach, Royal Palm Pointe, Beachland Boulevard, parts of Ocean Drive, and all city parks. Public parking lots and garages, too, are off limits. Charges were also made to which department handles citing violators. The Vero Beach Code Enforcement Department will now issue citations, instead of the Vero Beach Police Department.
That’s because the Clerk of the Court’s office is no longer accepting such citations for city ordinance violations.
Instead of contesting the citations in court, violators will now go before the city’s Code Enforcement Board.
Despite the changes in enforcement, the city’s assistant attorney, Wayne Coment, told the Vero Beach City Council that the city does not issue many citations.
Officials prefer to issue warnings first and reserve citations for habitual offenders and those who “grind” – or ride their skateboards on handrails and other such obstacles.
Citations from code enforcement are $15, and are actually cheaper than those that had been issued and processed through the courts, according to city leaders.
“It’s obviously not a revenue generating thing,” Coment told the council.
Police officers retain the right to issue citations to violators who are boarding in the street.
Skateboarders are allowed on sidewalks – except those located in the restricted business districts and parks – according to Police Chief Don Dappen. Skateboarders, like bicyclists, must yield to pedestrians on sidewalks, he added.***
Restricted areas at a glance
Downtown Business District: bounded on the north by 23rd St., on the south by 19th Place, on the west by 18th Ave., and on the east by the railroad tracks;
Central Beach Business District: bounded on the north by Cypress Rd., on the south by Flamevine Lane, one the west by Cardinal Dr., and on the east by Ocean Dr., plus all of Easter Lily Lane from Ocean Dr. east to the Atlantic Ocean;
Beachland Boulevard Business District: Beachland Blvd. east from Mockingbird Dr. to the Atlantic Ocean, including all of Sexton Plaza;
Royal Palm Pointe Business District: Area includes 1 Royal Palm Blvd. to 99 Royal Palm Blvd.;
Ocean Drive from Riomar Drive north to Jaycee Park;
All parks lying within the city limits;
All public parking lots and public parking garages and ramps within the city.