By A.C. Hall
The White Settlement City Council discussed the issue of parking and traffic at the new Central Park at their regular meeting last night. Council member Danny Anderson spoke on the matter, saying he lived in the area and saw some issues that he felt were unsafe. Anderson stated that cars were parking in the neighborhood beside Central park along Parkside Drive and that cars were driving too fast coming off George Street.
When Central Park first opened, no parking signs were set up along a section of Parkside and a stop sign was erected at the intersection of George and Judd Street. City Manager Linda Ryan said she made the decision to remove this signage due to citizen complaints.
Anderson said he felt like they needed to go back up, as kids aren’t safe going down Judd Street into the park.
“Either we’re going to be concerned about the safety of the citizens and the kids or we’re just gonna be haphazard,” Anderson said.
Some council members voiced concerns over putting up no parking signs, as citizens in the area have complained about these making it to where they aren’t allowed to park in front of their own homes. Anderson stated that it would just be about forty feet worth of an area that the signs would cover.
After more discussions, Anderson made a motion to have the stop sign at the George/Judd intersection put back up, as well as the no parking signs on Parkside put back up. That motion passed 3 – 2, with council members Gene Hatcher and Mike Arnold voting against.
WEST NILE VIRUS UPDATE
Fire Marshal R.J. Schwartz gave an update on the city’s work against the West Nile virus. Schwartz said they have tested mosquitoes three times so far this year and that none have come back with any indications of West Nile.
“We’re all negative, hopefully we’ll remain negative,” Schwartz said.
He encouraged citizens to make sure they have no standing water on their property, as this is where mosquitoes can be found. Should the worst case scenario come to pass and the City does have to spray, they have a company on standby to do ground spraying at a cost of $39.95 per mile.
Traps are currently being set up at Veterans Park and along Farmer’s Branch creek as the city continues to do testing.
MORE HOMES COMING TO SUNVIEW
The council unanimously approved Sun View Addition 6-B, a new 22 home addition to the Sun View community of homes. This will be a cul de sac on the corner of Dale Lane and I-30. A wall will be erected between the homes and I-30 to help mitigate noise from the highway.
Council member Elzie Clements questioned who would be responsible for maintaining the wall. He was informed that this becomes the responsibility of the homeowners, and they must keep up with whatever part of the wall that is on their property. Clements said that homeowners should be made aware of this at the time they are purchasing the property.
A public hearing on the new addition was held and one citizen chose to speak. The citizen stated that the deeds should have language added in to make it clear to buyers what their responsibilities are regarding the wall.
After the public hearing was closed, council unanimously approved the final plat for the new addition. Council also unanimously approved a Community Facilities Agreement, which states that the company behind the new addition is responsible for installing the utilities to the addition. Once installed, city staff will inspect the utilities.
CHERRY LANE CAR WASH DISCUSSED
Super Wash car wash on Cherry Lane sparked a major discussion as a citizen brought it forward with a citizen presentation. White Settlement resident Bobby Adian presented this item to council. Adian lives near the Super Wash car wash, and asked the council to rescind the certificate of occupancy that recently allowed Super Wash to reopen after they previously closed the business in late 2012.
As Adian reminded the council, there is some history between Super Wash and the City. The two were embroiled in a legal battle over a fence on the Super Wash property in 2001 and the ordinance that deemed it must remain up. Adian said that the case went all the way to the Texas Supreme Court where it was decided the ordinance stood and the fence had to stay up.
The new issue is whether or not Super Wash should have been allowed to re-open, as Adian brought up an ordinance that calls this into question. The Super Wash is currently a nonconforming use, and the ordinance referenced by Adian was Section 54-244, Termination of nonconforming uses. This section states that “when a building or other structure designed or used for a nonconforming use shall cease to be used in such manner for a period of 180 calendar days” then the right to operate that nonconforming use shall cease and be terminated.
This brought the council to the main issue before them, which is the exact date at which Super Wash ceased operations in late 2012. Originally, city staff including City Attorney Warren Spencer and Building Official Kyle Reeves denied Super Wash their request to re-open in April 2013, saying they had been closed beyond the 180 day window. However, Super Wash contended that they didn’t shut off the water to the business until December, meaning that is when they ceased to operate. Using this new information and confirming it with the water department, the determination was made to allow Super Wash to re-open.
Adian voiced his disagreement with that decision, saying that indicators of closing were apparent in late September or early October including a sign saying closed and the removal of equipment from the property. There was also a point when barriers were erected in front of the entrances to the business stopping any vehicles from entering. Adian contended that these were the true signs of the business ceasing to operate, and that is the time from which the 180 days countdown should have started. He questioned why the City Attorney changed his mind and allowed the car wash to re-open, saying that the city wasn’t following their own ordinance properly.
“My main objection is not following the rules, because you hold people to a certain standard all throughout this city,” Adian said, saying the ordinance says nothing about the water cutoff date impacting when a business ceased operations.
City Attorney Spencer commented on this matter next.
“The critical point is when did they cease operations?” Spencer said. “There’s nothing devious or subterfuge going on here.”
Spencer said it was simply math, and that the Building Official’s investigation determined that the business ceased operations when the water was cut off in December.
Council member Danny Anderson said that he felt they should put a hold on the current certificate of occupancy for Super Wash and launch an investigation to get accounting information from the business that would definitively show when they ceased operations. Anderson was told that until the city had proof, they couldn’t put a hold on the current certificate of occupancy. Mayor Jerry Burns took this one step further, saying that in this matter the burden of proof would be on the city’s shoulders, asking that Anderson would work that into his motion.
Anderson went on to make a motion to launch an investigation into this matter and to seek accounting information from Super Wash with the burden of proof resting on the city to get an actual date for when the business ceased operations. That motion passed 4 – 1 with council member Mike Arnold voting against. For now, Super Wash will remain open.