City weighs restrictions on air-pump attractions
Why in the world does the city Department of Parks and Recreation and state Parks Division allow people to operate extremely loud generators in public parks and camping sites? Those inflatable devices where children bounce up and down are really getting out of hand, especially at campgrounds like Bellows and Waimanalo Beach, where competing generators are making a huge racket. I thought parks were supposed to be quiet places of solitude, but nobody respects anybody's space anymore.
Answer: The city is moving to put tighter restrictions on the use of "inflatable rides" within city parks in light of their growing popularity, said Dana Takahara-Dias, deputy director of the parks department.
The department has a draft proposal, which is pending legal review, to regulate "small amusement rides" or "commercial amusement activities." Once finalized, the new rules would be subject to a public hearing.
"Our proposed rules will address the number of inflatables a permittee is allowed," as well as how long they may be up, Takahara-Dias said.
They also would restrict them to certain picnic sites at Ala Moana Regional Park, Central Oahu Regional Park, Maili Beach Park, Neal S. Blaisdell Park, Keehi Lagoon Beach Park, Waimanalo Beach Park and Haleiwa Beach Park.
Currently, a permit must be obtained for the use of inflatables. The permit sets a noise decibel limit of 85 for generators, Takahara-Dias said, unless there are barriers to muffle the noise or if they are located away from homes or park users.
Parks officials checked with other municipalities to see how they control the use of inflatables, which are defined as "a device inflated by a fan or pump that allows participants to bounce, slide or climb on it for amusement and entertainment."
The proposed new regulations also would cover other "small amusement rides," defined as "mechanically or electrically operated devices under 175 amps used for entertainment and amusement."
They include small carousels and small trains but not nonmechanized devices or structures, or passenger or gravity-propelled activities, such as bungy-jumping.
Water rides are prohibited, while rock climbing walls are considered carnival rides and covered under carnival rules.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources does not permit generators or inflatable bouncers in state campgrounds.
They are allowed in other park areas by special use permits, said spokeswoman Deborah Ward.
However, no "water-using inflatables" are allowed at any state park.
"We do look at the number of permits given out on any one day and don't allow an excessive number in any one area," Ward said.
The state parks director was not aware of any complaints or problems regarding the use of inflatables, she said, noting they are mainly used in urban-area parks.
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