City to discuss fate of backyard half pipe in Seminole Heights

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Neighbors in Seminole Heights are at odds over a half pipe in one of their backyards. One argues it's too noisy and is invading his privacy, but the other says building it is one of his rights as a property owner.

Rod Hatch says the ramp is disruptive and he's worried about the long-term impact this could have on his property value, but Jorge Angel says it's an outdoor activity he enjoys doing with his young son who he looks forward to teaching how to skateboard.

"This is now what we have to deal with," Hatch said. "This is our biggest investment."

The half-pipe can be clearly seen outside Rod Hatch's upstairs bedroom window.

"It sounds like swish, woosh, but louder," Hatch said. "And then grinding and them thumping up against the fence."

He's talking about a 560-square-foot half pipe for skateboarding.

"It's my property," Angel said. "I'm going to follow the laws. I'm going to keep a mini ramp in my backyard. I like to skateboard."

Jorge Angel built the ramp in December and even let his neighbor know about in advance, but Hatch says he didn't realize how much it would violate his privacy.

"When I come out here I got strangers," Hatch said. "Adults standing from knees up looking at us."

The half-pipe backs right up to Hatch's 9-foot-tall privacy fence, which you see one man sitting on. Hatch says he's most concerned about the impact on his property value.

"If something were to happen and I get re-located and I had to sell," Hatch said. "I couldn't sell my house. I'd be stuck here or I would have to sell it for a loss."

"It's not my intention to bother anyone with noise," Angel said. "It doesn't seem like the other neighbors are complaining except for him. In regards to his privacy, I definitely want to respect his privacy so I'm moving the ramp to the city's ordinances of 3-foot setbacks."

This month, the city cited Angel for not getting a permit to build and for not allowing a 3-foot barrier between the property line and the structure. Had he known he needed a permit he said he would have gotten one and now says he plans to follow city orders.

"I want my sons to have a place to play in the backyard," Angel said. "And it would be no different if there was a pool or if I put up a basketball goal or even a trampoline."

The city will be re-inspecting Angel's backyard next week, to make sure he's following protocol. The city's enforcement unit will be presenting the city council with a full report about this issue at Thursday's meeting.