Showing second thoughts about taking the plunge, the Richland City Council on Tuesday night postponed a decision to outlaw jumping from city docks.
A final vote on the matter was tabled indefinitely after the council received feedback from residents.
The council had initially approved the proposed ordinance during its Aug. 6 meeting. It would make jumping from and swimming within 100 feet of boat docks, gangways and boat launch ramps a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.
Councilman Bob Thompson is concerned about saddling young people with possible misdemeanor convictions, he said. Swimming within 100 feet of the docks already is banned and punishable with a fine, but ordinances do not address jumping from the docks into the river.
Two Richland residents spoke during the public comment period and asked the council to reconsider the proposed ban. Gerald Sorensen, 75, acknowledged that a problem exists with people swimming near the docks, but said the existing rules should suffice for enforcement.
"I see the problem you're trying to address," Sorensen told the council. "It seems that you have everything there that you need."
An addition to the proposed ordinance would allow the city to accommodate "coordinated special events" such as the annual Polar Plunge for Special Olympics, which takes place in January.
The proposed ban would not apply to exclusive swimming and water play areas like the swim-only dock on the northern end of Howard Amon Park, the swimming beach in Leslie Groves Park, the George Prout Memorial Pool, the Badger Mountain Community Park Splash Pad and the Howard Amon Park Wading Pool.
-- Drew Foster: 509-582-1513; firstname.lastname@example.org