The Midlothian City Council continues to wrestle with a proposed ordinance to regulate the parking of cars on city streets and residential property.
The city January 13 meeting was the second time the council has pondered different aspects of the ordinance and the issued passed on a 4-3 vote.
“I’m not pleased with several aspects of this ordinance,” said Place 1 Councilman R.J. “Dusty” Fryer, who opposed the ordinance. “We’ve got some problems with it.”
Place 3 councilman Ken Chambers and Place 6 Councilman Steve Massey sided with Fryer. Midlothian Mayor Boyce Whatley, Place 2 Councilman Bill Houston, Place 4 Councilman Joe Frizzell and Place 5 Councilman Wayne Sibley voted in the majority.
The lengthy and complex ordinance places a number of restrictions on what kind of vehicles can be parked on city streets and exactly how they can be parked in the yards of homeowners.
“I’ve got a neighbor who looks out his bay window every morning at breakfast at the side of a big RV,” said Whatley. “He didn’t buy that property and build that bay window wanting that view.
“I think if you can afford a $60,000 RV, you can afford to park it somewhere else,” said Whatley, “or screen it so others don’t have to look at it.”
Donna Brown, Midlothian Code Enforcement Officer, presented the ordinance to the board in December with the board questioning and tinkering with the language.
“I just want something that is clear to the homeowner,” said Brown. “I also need an ordinance that I can enforce.”
Midlothian Police Captain Don Cole presented the ordinance last week.
“I think what we have tonight is better than the original ordinance,” Cole told the council. “We have worked hard to tighten it up, clean up the wording and define exactly what we mean.”
Whatley said the intent was to prohibit continual parking of boats, RVs, campers, trailers and old cars in neighborhoods.
Fryer agreed the city needed an ordinance, but he also felt that whatever the city did, it needed to be enforced.
“What we have is 90-percent of the people who take care of these vehicles, they mow around them and keep them neat,” said Fryer. “But there is 10 percent that isn’t going to obey any ordinance and we are trying to write a law to catch them. I think that penalizes the entire community.”
The passage of the new ordinance meant the new regulations went into effect this week.
In other business:
• The council approved the purchase of 25 patrol rifles for the Midlothian Police Department at a cost not to exceed $50,000.
Midlothian Police Chief Carl Smith said the city is seeking to buy in bulk and get a better price. He also pointed out the weapons would be purchased by Midlothian Police Officers and the city would be reimbursed.
“In my years of service I have found that pooled equipment is often not taken care of,” said Smith. “These weapons will be issued to our officers and they will take ownership of them.”
Smith said the rifles will also be tailored to individuals.
“Our officers will purchase the accompanying hardware and optics for their weapon,” said Smith. “That will make the price vary from weapon to weapon.”
Smith said all the weapons will be basic AR-15’s.
• The city voted to lease three Chevrolet Tahoes for the Midlothian Police Department.
Smith said the vehicles will be used by administrators with the police department. He said they will not be marked but will have lights in the grill.
• The city voted to enter a contract with P.E.T. Construction to replace and repair sewer lines along U.S. Highway 67 at Overlook Drive.
Public Works Director Adam Mergener said the line is more than 50 years old and the work will also increase the capacity of the line.
The contract is not to exceed $206,799.90. The work will be paid from the sewer rate revenues collected by the city.
• The city unanimously approved an ordinance amending the city budget in the amount of $42,455 to employ a new police sergeant who will manage the city police officers assigned to the Midlothian Independent School District campuses.
“This officer will handle the scheduling of offices at the campuses and monitor the work of our school resource officers,” said Smith. “In the event something does happen on the campus he will be the officer in charge and the one with knowledge of the schools, their personnel and policy.”
The officer is part of an interlocal agreement with the city and MISD that was hammered out last fall.