TRACY — Portable basketball hoops are a staple in many Tracy neighborhoods and a pastime for kids.
“They have to go out and play. They have to smell the, you know, the air. They can’t just be on their phones all the time and their tablets and everything,” said homeowner Aurora Guttierez.
A notice sent from Tracy Code Enforcement to homeowners has brought new focus to an old controversial city ordinance that bans basketball hoops from being on city property, like sidewalks or roadways.
“It was very surprising they had a notice sent out like that,” Guttierez said.
After getting a complaint, Tracy police say code enforcement sent letters warning some homeowners to move their hoops onto private property or they could face a fine of up to $500.
Tracy police told FOX40 the basketball hoops are a hazard to cars and pedestrians and they block parking spaces and make it hard for city street sweepers to get by. They also say some are abandoned altogether, causing neighborhood blight.
Some neighbors like Florence Jones don’t agree.
“I can understand not being on the sidewalk because you do need that space available for people walking, but as far as up against the curb, I don’t see what the issue is. As the basketball hoop owner, I would sweep around it and keep it clean myself,” said resident Florence Jones.
Others say the city should be worried about more important issues.
“I say that’s sad because the mailboxes are getting broken into,” Guttierez said. “They should be focusing on something else and not that. Kids are playing!”
While some posted online that homeowners should just move them, the majority of the people FOX40 spoke to said the basketball hoops don’t bother them. For Jones, the city’s warning won’t stop her from putting up the basketball hoop she got her kids for Christmas.
“I’m still going to put it out there and let them play,” she said. “I mean, it’s all about the children and letting them enjoy it. It’s not like they’re vandalizing any part of the city so I don’t see what the issue is.”
A spokesperson for the City Manager’s Office sent a statement to FOX40 about the basketball hoops, which reads in part:
As of today, no follow-up notices have been sent, nor has any enforcement action been taken. The City has not received any additional complaints in the area, so it is our hope that the problem was successfully resolved by bringing the issue to the attention of the portable basketball hoop owners so they can be more mindful of the responsibility we all have to ensure safe, unobstructed access for our motorists, bicyclists, wheelchair users and pedestrians.
Tracy police said enforcing the basketball hoops ordinance is not a priority for their officers but told FOX40 they will respond if someone makes a complaint.