Torrey Hills youth voice opposition to removal of permanent neighborhood basketball hoop

Estefano Martinez, third from left, leads the fight in getting a basketball hoop back in his Torrey Hills neighborhood. Photoi/Karen Billing

By Karen Billing

Staff Writer

A group of basketball-loving kids brought some drama to the Torrey Hills Master Association meeting last week when they voiced opposition to the removal of a permanent basketball hoop that had been in their neighborhood cul-de-sac for seven years.

The group of youngsters, led by 13-year-old Estefano Martinez, came bearing signs that read messages such as “Let kids be kids”; “We want to play outside”; and “A basketball hoop=new friendships.”

The permanent hoop is against the CC&R’s (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions) for the neighborhood—the rules allow a temporary hoop in the street but only if it is taken in at night.

The hoop at the end of a cul-de-sac in Estefano’s St. Augustine neighborhood is too heavy to take in nightly so it was taken down two weeks ago.

“It should remain because it brings the whole neighborhood together,” said Estefano. “It keeps kids from causing trouble and it’s healthier than staying inside playing video games.”

To support his cause, Estefano and his brother Lorenzo went door to door talking to neighbors about the hoop, gathering signatures from families and encouraging kids to attend the June 15 meeting, which they did with much enthusiasm.

The Earl Warren Middle School student even spent time in the library looking at law books.

“(The hoop) is really important to us,” Estefano said, surrounded by friends he had made shooting hoops.

The board appreciated the kids’ presentation and their plight.

“This board is not anti-basketball and we never said you can’t play basketball,” said chair Brad Fagan. “We are tasked with enforcing a group of rules… Some rules we don’t agree with and some we think are really good.”

Fagan said when they get complaints about a hoop being left out, they have to enforce them because the complainant knows the rules. He said the sometimes the rules are difficult to enforce but it is their duty as an HOA.

“The board’s hands are tied,” said board member Rob Mullally, but offered some hope that the group has an option to try and change the community’s CC&Rs.

Mullally said a change could be possible if enough people were interested—they would need 68 percent approval.

At least one board member, Paula Abney, believed 68 percent will be an uphill battle as she said many people do not want permanent hoops in their neighborhoods—herself being one of them.

“I hate basketball hoops, I think they’re hideous,” Abney said.

Because the group of boys has expressed an interest in hoops, as have representatives from the La Strada and

Vantage Point neighborhoods, association board member Victor Marshall has said he will work with the groups on a potential change.

He will begin surveying communities to see if an interest is there.

“We are in the information gathering stage with an open mind,” said Marshall. “The final decision will be made with the board though.”



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