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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS | THE BUSINESS BEAT

Jumpers May Not Be So Jolly With New Rules

October 24, 2000|KEVIN F. SHERRY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

OXNARD — A proposed city regulation may deflate the number of "jolly jumpers" allowed at the city's parks, while it pumps up the cost to use one.

The popular inflatable attractions that send kids flying on bouncy cushions of air came to the city's attention in August, when some residents complained that they were taking over Oxnard's parks.

City officials have suggested that smaller neighborhood parks be restricted to two jumpers a day and larger community parks be limited to three a day. In addition, they propose charging a $25 permit fee for jumpers used in city parks.

"As many as seven or eight jolly jumpers were in any particular park," said Mayor Pro Tem John Zaragoza. "They were using the basketball courts and the volleyball courts."

Businesses that rent out jolly jumpers believe the regulations would increase costs for their customers.

The City Council is scheduled to discuss the proposed regulations at its meeting tonight at 7 at City Hall, 305 W. 3rd St.

The regulations would not affect jumpers hired for use on private property, only those used in city parks.

"We don't want to make it difficult on the folks," Zaragoza said. "I have grandkids, and they love the jolly jumpers."

Other cities address park use of jolly jumpers in different ways. Ventura charges a $15 fee, Camarillo has no regulations, and Port Hueneme bans them from city parks.

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Some jolly-jumper renters fear that increased regulation could hurt their business.

"Ventura's [fee] is $15, and that seems to be OK," said George Pirie, a dispatcher with Superior Vending & Amusement in Oxnard. "I don't know why Oxnard should cost more than Ventura."

Port Hueneme resident Otto Young has rented jumpers as a side business for about six weeks.

"It's bad enough you have to get a business license and everything else," Young said. "The fees are going to [end up being] paid by the customer."

Jumper owners already must have $1 million in liability insurance for every jumper, Young said.

Depending on size and complexity, the cost to rent one can range from $7 an hour to $40 an hour, he said.

With a $25 permit fee added to a $25 generator-rental fee, the average cost of renting a jumper could top $100, Pirie said.

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"That's for one day in the park," he added.

Oxnard families who live in apartment complexes that do not have a common recreation area would be hit hardest by a fee, Young said.

"It probably is going to deter some families from being able to [rent one]," he said.

People will be more likely to restrict their rentals to private home use, Pirie said.

"I think it'll cut down on park use, which is what they're trying to do," he said.

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