Man on Thin Ice for Backyard Skating Rink

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A backyard ice rink in a local neighborhood is stirring up controversy.

Daniel Orleman is passionate about ice skating and hockey. He coaches a pee-wee hockey team, and three years ago, he built a 36-by-46 foot temporary ice rink in the backyard of his home on Westwood Road in Fairview Park.

"I use it for stick handling drills, skating drills for myself…friends come over, neighbors will sometimes come over and look at it. It's usually, generally well-accepted," said Orleman.

But the rink is not accepted by everyone. After receiving a complaint, and holding a hearing, Fairview Park's Board of Zoning and Building Appeals informed Daniel that his homemade ice rink violates city code. The ordinance states the rear 28 feet of a homeowner's property needs to be unobstructed from the ground up.

"I should be allowed to use my backyard for my recreational purposes. I'm not throwing wild parties in my backyard, I'm not out 'til all hours of the night," Orleman said.

Kathi Super, who is a nurse, lives right behind Orleman, but in Rocky River. She says not only is the ice rink unsightly, but she feels it's potentially dangerous.

"I have actually covered plenty of hockey players who have hit boards like that and became quadriplegics, so not only the safety of the rink, but the safety of people in my yard, in case a puck would fly," Super said.

She also says in the past, water has flooded her yard when the rink is drained in the spring.

"If I would ever go to sell my home, I believe it decreases my property value; people coming to view my home during the time he has that up," said Super.

"It goes up in mid-December, comes down in mid-March," explained Orleman.

Orleman says he takes precautions to make sure hockey pucks don't fly out of his yard and says as a hockey coach and physical ed teacher, he stresses safety on the ice.

"As long as he's within the city guidelines, I'm fine with it...totally fine," said Super.

"I've been throwing around the option of possibly moving the ice rink from here, shrinking it down, unfortunately, and running it next to the garage and the fence. But I'm also toying around with the idea of taking this issue to court and filing suit against the city," Orleman said.

Fox 8 tried to contact someone from the city of Fairview Park, but we were unsuccessful.  The letter the city sent Orleman states that he must contact the city’s building department to establish a time frame for when he will comply with the ordinance.

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