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Dublin Mayor To Take Softer Line on Swing Set Ordinance

An unintended effect of suburban sprawl has created a major controversy in the city of Dublin. At the root of the controversy - swing sets. Dublin city council Monday night is expected to reconsider last week's vote to enforce zoning laws which would outlaw some swing sets in the city.

It's safe to say this was not an issue when Dublin was a small town and the yard based amusement center of choice was a tire hanging from a tree by a rope.

But Dublin has changed and swinging has changed.

"A lot of my neighbors are outraged." says Brian Graham. He owns a home in Dublin and in his backyard sits a swing set.

Dublin has a 5-year-old ordinance that basically says residents cannot build a patio, shed or swing set too close to the property line.

Officials used to enforce the ordinance on a case by case basis when they received a complaint. But after finding dozens of possible violations, city council decided to impose city wide enforcement.

Mayor Marilee Chinnici-Zuercher says developers are building bigger houses on small lots leaving little room for swing sets. Some of the swingsets in yards are are similar to ones we see in parks,she said.

But Graham argues the ordinance goes against the idea that Dublin is a family friendly community.

Last week the mayor voted to enforce the ordinance, but after receiving a flood of e-mails and phone calls, she will ask that city officials remove swing sets from the no-build ordinance.

Chinnici-Zuercher says she is not anti-family and not opposed to swing sets, just sets that are too close the property line.

If Dublin City Council agrees with Chinnici-Zuercher's recommendation, city lawyers would re-write the ordinance, and the matter would swing back before council next month.

Mike Thompson spends much of his time correcting people who mispronounce the name of his hometown – Worcester, Massachusetts. Mike studied broadcast journalism at Syracuse University when he was not running in circles – as a distance runner on the SU track team.