For the first time, the Ventura City Council has denied a request by the owner of the Mound Shopping Center to officially ban skateboarders from his parking lot.
The council's decision Monday night marked a small victory for skateboarders, who have been chased off commercial properties from one end of Ventura to another.
Six other shopping centers--mostly in east Ventura--have already received council approval to ban the skateboarders, with no snags and few questions.
But the council voted 4 to 3 Monday not to approve a ban for the Mound Shopping Center near Ventura College. Mayor Jack Tingstrom and Councilmen Jim Friedman, Gary Tuttle and Ray Di Guilio voted not to grant the ban.
Council members Steve Bennett, Jim Monahan and Rosa Lee Measures voted to support the owners' request.
The council initially heard the owner's request in September, but had asked him to return with more substantive proof that skateboarding was indeed a safety hazard.
Measures said none of the other shopping centers had to prove anything. And the lot is private property.
But Di Guilio remained unconvinced, and insisted he needed compelling evidence to show this is a problem.
Acknowledging this breaks with precedent, Friedman said he believes the Mound Shopping Center is different from the others.
"They had major supermarkets with heavy traffic," he said. "It is not fair to compare this . . . "
A fitness center is scheduled to go into the empty Noren supermarket at the center. But Tuttle argued that at this point it is not a shopping center, but an empty lot.
"I'd rather wait until this is a problem, then ban it," he said.