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Backyard Skateboarders on Way Out--by '87

July 03, 1986|DENISE HAMILTON | Times Staff Writer

A six-month dispute over a 20-foot-high skateboard ramp in the backyard of a La Canada Flintridge home glided to a smooth conclusion this week, as skaters signed a contract to remove the ramp by Jan. 1 and neighbors agreed to allow limited skating until then.

The compromise drew expressions of relief and some resignation.

"Now we can see light at the end of the tunnel," said Lois Moore, who lives on Oakwood Avenue, next door to the ramp. Moore is one of about 20 neighbors who petitioned the City Council to close the ramp, complaining that teen-age skaters caused constant noise and invaded their privacy.

Neighbors first asked that the 50-foot long, semi-circular, plywood ramp be torn down by Sept. 15. Angie Ashamalla, whose 17-year-old son built the ramp with three friends in their backyard, countered that the ramp should remain open through September, 1987. Both sides threatened to sue, but neither did.

'Tired of Whole Thing'

Ashamalla eventually agreed to stop using the ramp Jan. 1, 1987. "I'm very tired of the whole thing and I can't afford a lawyer any more," she said.

The ramp, which the teen-agers built in January with $3,000 earned from part-time jobs, was ordered closed by city officials in February because it lacked a building permit and did not conform to the city building code. It reopened briefly in May after complying with the legal requirements, but closed in several weeks because of complaints from neighbors.

Under terms of a final agreement signed by the Ashamallas, neighbors and City Manager Donald Otterman of La Canada Flintridge, the ramp will be shut down Jan. 1, 1987, and must either be dismantled or relocated by Jan. 15.

Until Jan. 1, it will be open Monday through Friday from 1 to 6 p.m. and closed weekends and holidays.

The agreement permits three skaters on the ramp at one time, and limits non-skaters in the ramp's vicinity to eight. The contract binds the skaters to tear down the ramp immediately if they violate its terms.

$1,000 Guarantee Fund Asked

Neighbors requested that Ashamalla deposit $1,000 in a bank account that city officials can use to tear down the structure in the event the skaters breach the agreement and refuse to cooperate.

Ashamalla said she will deposit the money and enforce the contract.

"I don't hold grudges. I had no idea how big this ramp dispute was going to get. I just wanted to keep my son home more often so I could keep an eye on him," Ashamalla said.

One skater with mixed emotions about the agreement is 18-year-old Fred Stuhr, who helped build the ramp and donated nearly $400 of his own money toward its construction. Stuhr said: "I think it's unfair they're going to make us tear it down after we put all that work into it. I wish I could put it in my front yard, but my Dad said, 'No way.' "

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