The Coast News Group
A recent picture shows the progress of construction at the skate plaza in the Encinitas Community Park. The City Council supported an ordinance requiring that skateboarders wear a helmet, elbow pads and kneepads in the new skatepark. Photo courtesy of the Encinitas Parks and Recreation Department

Council supports update of ordinance in anticipation of new skatepark

Council also opts not to put city attorney’s contract out to bid 

ENCINITAS — Local skateboarders have more reason to strap on a helmet.

The City Council on Wednesday night introduced an ordinance spelling out that skateboarders must wear a helmet, elbow pads and kneepads when using the new skatepark. Any person failing to do so can be cited by law enforcement.

The City Council, which unanimously supported the ordinance, is expected to adopt it in the near future.

The 13,000-square-foot skatepark is part of the 44-acre Encinitas Community Park at 425 Santa Fe Drive. The entire community park is expected to debut next fall.

Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Rudloff noted that fines for those caught without protective gear ranges from $50 to $150 for repeat offenders.

“I’ll tell my son to start saving in case he wants to show up without a helmet,” Councilwoman Kristin Gaspar said.

The ordinance also prohibits bikes in the skatepark. In addition, it calls for posting signs around the skatepark at a cost of $750 to the city to remind skateboarders of the rules. And the city will have to track and report skateboarding injuries to the state, as per the ordinance.

Because the skatepark won’t be staffed, skateboarders will not need to turn in waivers to use it.

“It’s actually less liability for the city for the skatepark not to be supervised,” Rudloff said.

The ordinance was passed to comply with California health and safety code 115800, which was passed by the California legislature in 1998. Before the code, cities were reluctant to construct skateparks due to legal concerns. But the code limits the liability of cities building skateparks if they require that skateboarders wear protective gear.

The Leucadia Oaks skatepark already conforms to the code, the staff report states.

In other City Council news, council members received a report on the city’s legal services, including City Attorney Glenn Sabine’s contract. Sabine has worked with the city since 1999.

Deputy Mayor Lisa Shaffer made a motion to put Sabine’s contract out to bid to explore the city’s options, inviting Sabine to reapply.

“As a good business practice, every 10 or 15 years, it’s appropriate to review long-term contracts and evaluate our needs and options,” Shaffer said.

That motion wasn’t supported by the other council members.

Councilman Tony Kranz said that Encinitas’ legal fees are “competitive” compared with other cities.

And instead of the contract going to bid, he said a performance review is a better way of communicating the city’s needs.

“If it (the contract) isn’t up to our satisfaction, then we can take action at that time,” Kranz said. “But for now, I’m comfortable with continuing the relationship.”