Salt Lake County's top health official is asking for a temporary suspension of a ban on skateboard ramps in backyards until the issue can be studied further.

The Salt Lake Valley Board of Health enacted the ban on building or using the ramps in early August because of noise concerns and resident complaints, according to Gary Edwards, executive director of the Salt Lake Valley Health Department. But based on feedback it has received — both positive and negative — "we feel it is probably appropriate to ask the board to wait while we study it further."

Edwards will formally make the request during the next SLVHD board of health meeting, next Thursday. He noted that the board went through the traditional process of public notice and hearings before the ban was enacted. "We were not trying to sneak anything through. It's been well-publicized."

The regulation bans skateboard, snowboard, rollerblade and similar ramps within 800 feet of a dwelling. Unless you live on a half-acre or so of land, that effectively says no backyard ramps, Edwards said. Officials are not sure how many exist across the county.

Both Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County have received a great deal of reaction to the ban recently "on both sides of the issue," Edwards said. Salt Lake City reportedly got "hundreds of complaints, both about the ban and saying don't change it."

Some of the comments have raised questions that seem to call for more study.

It's the only backyard ban on a sport in the county, Edwards said, adding he's not sure if other counties have similar bans. Critics have said it unfairly singles out one sport and they argue that noise concerns are exaggerated.

Edwards said one of the questions he's been asked is why it's okay to have a basketball court in your yard but not a skateboard ramp.

"That's a fair question," he said. "We need to do more study."


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