Last edition of the Post had a letter to the editor from a Rich Puchalski concerning the basketball hoops at the tennis courts in Wachapreague. This is a response to that letter.
It took three years of discussions for the Town Council to vote to take the hoops down. It was a very, very difficult decision. It was not made frivolously.
Let us acknowledge that the best of intentions was the driving force when, in April 2019, a town resident donated the posts and basketball hoops to the town for placement on an existing tennis court. It seemed like a nice idea for the general community. We appreciate this concept of goodwill.
It is important for people to understand how this began.
One Town Council person, on April 9, 2019, suggested the modification of the tennis court into a basketball court. There was no discussion of the impact for the residents in the immediate vicinity. Town Council did not have a public hearing prior to the modification. There was no vote. Town Council just said “OK.”
The legal, proper procedure would have been to forward the potential modification of town property to the planning commission for review and suggestions.
Unfortunately, the creation of an ad hoc basketball court in a residential neighborhood, next door to homes of tax-paying residents, has led to unexpected negative consequences for the residents who live in the immediate vicinity.
The basketball hoops have attracted the attention of 8 to 15 adult players per game. Trash is left all over the court area and on the grass outside the court. There is excessive speeding in and out of town, playing loud music, prolific use of foul language, and open use of illegal substances. During the summer and fall months, this behavior can occur four to five afternoons a week from 4 p.m. until dusk. These violations have been ongoing for over three years, without a fair resolution for everybody involved.
Finally, and regretfully, a motion was made to remove the hoops and it passed 4 to 2.
The Town Council needs to forward this matter to the planning commission for its assessment of appropriate placement of a basketball court in Wachapreague. A public hearing can be held for all residents.
If town residents wish to have a full basketball court, a plan needs to be developed by those interested and submit it to the planning commission which can hold a public hearing for all residents to have a voice in the process.
Wachapreague Town Council Member