Council takes additional steps to combat erosion along creek

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by A.C. Hall

For the second time in recent months the White Settlement City Council addressed erosion happening along the municipal complex banks of Farmer’s Branch Creek.  Previously, a decision was made to construct a retaining wall behind the library that would combat the soil erosion that was taking place along that bend of the creek.  With that wall now complete, council turned their sights to the other side of the creek as it takes another bend behind the fire station.  Before them was a proposal to build a second retaining wall in that location.
“This will just help amend what we’ve already done and prevent further erosion back towards the sidewalk and parking lot behind the Fire Hall,” Parks and Recreation Director Rich Tharp said.
The new retaining wall will be five feet tall, twelve inches wide, and 175 feet long.  The proposed cost of the wall is $49,875.
City Manager Jim Ryan spoke optimis-tically about the new wall and some additional measures city staff are doing to fight erosion along the creek.
“We think this will, for the foreseeable future anyways, protect all the city buildings down here,” Ryan said.
A motion was made to approve the construction of the retaining wall.  That motion passed unanimously.

Alcohol sales variance granted
A representative of a prospective new owner of the Shell station on White Settlement Road came before council seeking a variance to the ordinance that doesn’t allow the sale of alcohol within 300 feet of a school or daycare.  The Discovery Early Learning Center falls just within that 300 feet, meaning the store would need special permission from the council for alcohol sales.
The prospective new owner was said to be in the process of buying the Shell station and will be looking to invest in upgrades to the property.  Many reasons were given why the gas station should be allowed to sale alcohol, including the fact that the young age of children at the Discovery Center means they are mostly picked up and don’t walk home by the store and that their young ages means they wouldn’t be allowed inside the store without adult supervision anyways.
Council member Elzie Clements spoke on this matter, saying the current owners of the store run a “very respectable business”.  It was also mentioned that the Discovery Center is almost 300 feet away, missing the mark by only around 30 feet.  Clements suggested granting the variance to sell alcohol, saying the council could observe how alcohol sales go at the location and could step in at a later time if the store isn’t handling those sales in a respectable manner.
A motion was made to grant the variance to the new owner.  That motion was approved unanimously.  It was stated that the ability to sale alcohol doesn’t extend to the current owners, and will only take effect when this new owner finishes buying the business and takes over.
Online payment system approved
Assistant City Manager Jeff James presented this item to council.  This service would allow people who owe fines and fees to the City to pay them online or over the phone instead of having to come and do it in person.
“It’s an opportunity for us to collect more fines and fees that are already owed to the City,” James said.
James said that in addition to the process being more convenient than having to come in person it will also get more people to pay who are fearful of coming to City Hall.  He explained that people with warrants and tickets are often afraid to come pay in person for fear of being arrested.
The service is free to the city, making money by taking out a transaction fee in each payment.  James spoke about the over 200 cities in Texas that already utilize the system, listing almost every surrounding and nearby city in the White Settlement area.  He stated that he called many of the cities who use the system and heard no complaints at all about it.
“I think this would be a good instrument for our city,” Clements said.
A motion was made to approve the new system.  That motion passed unanimously.
Green Ribbon Project
Parks and Recreation Director Tharp presented this item to council, telling them the City has received a $350,000 grant for the beautification of spur 341.  This will be used along the median on 341 and will go towards landscaping and materials.  Tharp told the council that Lockheed is donating engineering services and other help towards the project.  The entire project will come at no cost to the city.  One year after installation, the city and Lockheed will share upkeep responsibilities on the beautified medians.
This project was unanimously approved and is set to get underway later this year.