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Farmingdale bans skateboarding on Lenox Hill

Three skateboarders enjoy the short hill on Fairview

Three skateboarders enjoy the short hill on Fairview Road in Farmingdale. (Sept. 20, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

Skateboarding has been banned on two steep streets in Farmingdale -- a unanimous decision by village officials who said they feared imminent disaster among the mix of skaters, drivers and pedestrians on Lenox Hill.

Skaters and residents protesting the ban predicted the teens and young adults would simply use other, potentially more dangerous, hills. In the 5-0 vote Monday, officials prohibited skateboarding, in-line skating and similar activities on Yoakum Street and Fairview Road.

Violators face a $100 fine, with the law to be enforced by Nassau County police.

For years, the residential streets have been a choice hangout of longboarders. Skaters protesting the ban said it unfairly targets them.

"This is complete discrimination against skateboarders and nothing else," Russell LaScala, 19, of Massapequa, said. "I'm just going to ride down the ones [streets] that are allowed."

After the meeting, LaScala said he thought the village and skaters were working toward a compromise.

Other skaters at several public hearings since early October have argued that their sport is clean fun, and that they take every possible safety precaution, including wearing helmets.

At the hearings, older Farmingdale residents reminisced about their own skateboarding adventures. Although some residents have said they fear striking a skater with their cars, others defended the skaters.

Barbara Carpenter asked Tuesday, "Could you imagine a town where children are not allowed to play on their blocks?"

Craig Rosasco predicted they would move to Quaker Meeting House and Bethpage roads.

"If you're going to shut it down, you're going to push them on to more heavily used roads," he said Monday.

Officials said they've received the largest volume of complaints about Lenox Hill, which has a 130-foot drop, and would deal with issues on other streets as they arise.

"We consider these the major hills because of their heights," Mayor Ralph Ekstrand said.

Trustee William Barrett said his decision was a difficult one. "It's not as if we're jumping for joy about it," he said.

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