By Ben Wofford
July 13, 2012. Recess Skate & Snow was granted a variance and special permit from the Boone Board of Adjustment for a skateboard ramp Thursday, July 12.
“There’s always the doubt that they could say no, but with the material we presented and the options present there was no real room to say no,” said John-Paul Pardy, owner of Recess Skate & Snow.
Discussion was thorough and the hearing lasted almost two hours. During the meeting, Board member, Tom Hearron said, “I think Boone needs a skateboard ramp.”
The Board voted unanimously to approve a foot and a half variance to Recess for a skateboard ramp that is five and a half feet from the property line shared by Comfort Suites. According to section 206 of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), all accessory buildings are required a setback of seven feet from the property line.
“The ramp is close to the property line due to available space and the area needed for it to function properly,” Pardy said in an outline to the Board. “We have consulted with our neighbors (Comfort Suites) who have expressed no concerns or issues over the 1.5 foot variance we are requesting. They have provided us with a signed letter attesting to that fact.”
A packet provided by Recess contained ramp plans, signed letters from their landlord, Comfort Suites, Discount Cellular Accessories, as well as photographs, and proof of full liability insurance.
The special permit for use of the ramp was granted unanimously under the following conditions; Recess retains all vegetation behind the ramp to act as a buffer; operation of the ramp will only occur during daylight hours; Recess will maintain the fence at the back of the property that acts as a buffer; and when the ramp is closed, they will keep it locked.
Pardy said he was relieved that the town approved and now looks forward to working on the ramp. The ramp needs a days worth of work and will be completed as soon as a building permit is granted. Since Recess has waited almost two months Pardy said the town is working with them to expedite the process.
After the ramp is completed, the town must return to approve proper construction of the ramp.
“I would love to be skating [the ramp] next week, that is the ultimate goal now,” Pardy said.
The ramp is four feet tall by 16 feet wide. Pardy said he only sees health benefits for skateboarders who use the ramp properly.
There are tentative plans to charge three dollars for a day pass to skate the ramp and a $25 monthly pass that will include a 15 percent discount in the store.
Recess plans to update ramp hours and pricing on their website and Facebook page.
“Currently in the town of Boone, these skateboard enthusiasts have no safe venue to go and enjoy the sport,” Pardy said in a letter to the Board. “We wanted to build a small ramp where our customers and the skateboarding community can come and practice the sport in a safe environment.”
Skateboarders of Boone could visit the skatepark that existed from 2006 to 2009 in the Watauga Recreation complex located off of State Farm Road. The Watauga County Commissioners voted to close the park in 2009 due to safety and budget concerns.
The facility was moved and currently exists at the Ashe County Park complex in West Jefferson.