Alpharetta City Council passes first reading of skateboarding ordinance

Alpharetta City Council members passed the first reading of an ordinance prohibiting skateboarding in most of City Center. (Kara McIntyre/Community Impact Newspaper)
Alpharetta City Council members passed the first reading of an ordinance prohibiting skateboarding in most of City Center. (Kara McIntyre/Community Impact Newspaper)

Alpharetta City Council members passed the first reading of an ordinance prohibiting skateboarding in most of City Center. (Kara McIntyre/Community Impact Newspaper)

After much discussion at the May 18 Alpharetta City Council meeting regarding an ordinance to prohibit skateboarding within parts of City Center due to safety concerns, council members passed the first reading of the ordinance at the June 1 meeting. The ordinance will be presented again at a future meeting for a second reading.

The ordinance, as read, prohibits skateboarding, longboarding, roller skating or inline skating on a public alleyway, sidewalk, public parking lot, public parking garage or elevated surface—such as rails, ramps and steps—within the "downtown core district," which encompasses the area between Old Milton Parkway, Church Street, Haynes Bridge Road and Cotton Alley as well as a small portion of City Center off of Milton Avenue.

Several Alpharetta residents spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting regarding the skateboarding ordinance, citing there is currently no skate park in Alpharetta or a nearby city and requesting—after financial impacts of COVID-19 subside—to build a skate park at Union Hill Park.

"There are so many skateboarders in this area because, for one, it's basically a skate park. Within 100 feet of where I'm standing, there's several stair sets, smooth concrete ledges, rails, curbs, everything you need in a skate park. Whereas, to go to an actual skate park, the nearest one is 30 minutes away up in Fowler Park in Forsyth County," said Ethan Palmer, an Alpharetta teenage resident and skateboarder, during the meeting. "My proposed solution to this problem is to build a skate park ... the population of skateboarders [in City Center] will drastically decline, which means you guys won't have to deal with us anymore."

Palmer also mentioned as public, city-owned sidewalks are included in the prohibited areas of the ordinance, skateboarders would be forced to skate in the streets on busy roadways, which he said is a safety concern.


Council Member Ben Burnett said he would like to see the ordinance limits decreased, and Mayor Pro Tem Donald Mitchell—a sponsor of the ordinance—said he will look into reducing the size of the ordinance's limits. Mitchell also said he would consider removing sidewalks from the prohibited areas in the ordinance and voiced his support of a skate park once the city is in a better financial position.

"I will be the first one to support skate parks, as soon as we get back to a financial footing where we can look into that because I do think we need it. It may not be at Union Hill [Park], it may be somewhere closer so that most folks can easily get to it," Mitchell said during the meeting.

Council meets again at Alpharetta City Hall, 2 Park Plaza, Alpharetta, at 6:30 p.m. June 15.
By Kara McIntyre
Kara started with Community Impact Newspaper as the summer intern for the south Houston office in June 2018 after graduating with a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. She became the reporter for north Houston's Tomball/Magnolia edition in September 2018, moving to Alpharetta in January 2020 after a promotion to be the editor of the Alpharetta/Milton edition, which is Community Impact's first market in Georgia.


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