The Ennis City Commission discussed an issue on wheels when they met in regular session this week.
After several commission members and the police department received numerous complaints from downtown business owners and patrons regarding disturbances caused by skate boarders, the issue was brought before the commission for resolution.
During the discussion surrounding the issue, concerns of property damage and liability as the result of an accident were mentioned as the major complaint of the business owners.
Patrons have complained about their vehicles being hit by out of control boards and some users of the recreational device being rude or confrontational when asked to leave the area.
A concerned parent approached the commission to ask that they consider allowing the skateboarders to use the area after business hours because it is a favorable location for the boarders to skate.
Commissioner Byron Walker requested the commission to table the issue until enforcement of the ordinance be discussed and the issue of bicycles being used on the sidewalks is addressed. Under the current ordinance, bicycles are not supposed to be driven on sidewalks anywhere in the city. Walker said he was concerned that anyone using bicycles for transportation may be fined unnecessarily.
The proposed ordinance would carry up to a $500 fine and be considered a Class C misdemeanor.
The area the proposed ordinance would consider off limits to skateboards, roller blades, scooters and any other wheeled device with the exception of wheelchairs, wheeled walkers and baby carriages/strollers is: the area beginning at the north-west corner of W. Baylor Street and N. Sherman Street, then south on N. Sherman Street to the south-west corner of W. Crockett Street and S. Sherman Street. East on W. Crockett Street to the east right-of-way line of S.W. Main Street and north on S.W. Main Street to the north-east corner of W. Baylor Street and N. Sherman Street and containing approximately 34.16 acres of land.
The commission will re-visit the issue after discussing how enforcement of the proposed ordinance will be handled, because the ordinance comes with a fine it will have to be published several times allowing the public ample notice that the change has occurred before being able to impose fines.
The ordinance does allow for wheeled devices to be used in residential areas and only limits users to stay away from the commercial downtown area.
In other items:
* The commission approved the purchase of another parcel of land on Ensign Road allowing them to move closer to their goal of widening the road into a four-lane stretch of roadway to accommodate the growth that will occur as a result of construction of the new junior high school and the upgrade to the high school.
*A public hearing and first reading of an ordinance was held concerning changing the zoning of a piece of property located in the 400 block of E. Ennis Avenue from single family district to a commercial planned development to accommodate the construction of a new Sonic restaurant at that location.
* The commission discussed and reappointed city attorney Toby Mash and city secretary Shirley Trull to their positions.
The city will also be working toward decommissioning the old hospital facility and accessing the property and structure for possible marketing value. They hope to have the building available for possible use in the next few months as the transition from the old Ennis Regional Medical Center facility to the new takes place.
The City Commission meets at 6 p.m. in workshop, with the regular meeting at 7 the first and third Monday of each month at city hall, 115 W. Brown St.