Jacksonville Daily Progress
Four zoning changes for former Lon Morris College property were approved Tuesday night to make way for an apartment complex, but two other top agenda items were tabled.
The issue of parking on the streets near the Jacksonville High School campus became an argument between Mayor Pro Tem Billy McDonald and Jacksonville Police Chief Reece Daniel over the legal definition of a parked vehicle.
McDonald initially seconded a motion made by Councilman Jeff Smith to approve the parking ordinance. However, once learning the language of the ordinance was going to only prohibit parking and not stopping or standing in the streets, he rescinded his motion.
"It's a crying shame that we don't do something when you can't drive into your own driveway to go to your house," McDonald declared. "The only way we're going to do that is to put no stopping, no walking and no parking (in the ordinance)!"
Daniel disagreed, and said the city should not punish the people going to pick up students with an ordinance on all three aspects.
A resident of Henderson Street spoke to the council, asking Daniel why students are parking on the streets and how the ordinance will affect residences with multiple vehicles.
According to Daniel, school officials said students are parking in the streets because they do not have license and/or insurance. However, officials have made contact with some students, and Daniel said most are parking in the streets to leave campus more easily.
"This has been going on for at least eight years, that's how long I've been here. This is, for me, the final fix," Daniel said.
Daniel said the ordinance includes several streets around the campus, in order to keep students from simply relocating nearby, if the closest area is banned.
Mayor Kenneth Melvin suggested the council make a motion to table the ordinance decision until the exact wording and regulations are defined. City Manager Mo Raissi said he will also attempt to open the lines of communication again with school officials.
Klein Animal Shelter funding
Councilman Smith quickly made a motion to table the shelter's request for funding "until we get some more information." The motion was seconded by McDonald.
According to Raissi, the shelter is asking for increased funding of nearly $12,000. He said the city already provides the shelter with $75,000 to offset the cost to Jacksonville residents of surrendering an animal.
"Compared to other cities, ours (at $75,000) is twice as much as other cities (are paying)," Raissi said.
Raissi said the council members would like more explanation for which the additional funds are going to be used.
On Monday, Cherokee County Commissioners echoed the same sentiment when the shelter approached them for $22,000 in increased funding.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Katherine W. Pinotti told the shelter's executive director Angela Wallace, who attended the meeting, that while commissioners “are in agreement that we do and would like to contribute toward animal control … before we can, we'd like to see (better financial transparency) because we have to answer to taxpayers where that money goes.”
On Tuesday, Wallace told the Daily Progress that the additional funds requested of the county would have covered the entire cost of residents surrendering animals – as the City of Jacksonville is already doing for its residents.
LMC zoning requests
Local business owner Jack Webb was approved for zoning request changes on Tilley, College and Prather streets from a planned development to a multi-family dwelling ordinance.
"I would like to construct an apartment complex that complements the city and would be good for the growth of the city," Webb said.
The location formerly belonged to LMC, before its closure in 2012. Webb will be constructing the complex where Wilson Hall, Clark Hall, Fair Hall and Brown Hall dormitories were located.
Public Health Department
Christopher Taylor, executive director of the Cherokee County Public Health Department, addressed the council to propose the idea of a food park for the city. Health inspector Joseph De Guzman attended the meeting with Taylor.
"We want to keep that eclectic flair that Jacksonville has," Taylor said.
He explained that it is difficult for himself and De Guzman to keep track of all mobile food vendors across the county, and having one area for the vendors to congregate would make the situation easier.
At the end of the meeting, Raissi recited a letter he had received commending the police department for helping locate a boy who was missing from a Tyler shelter.
Items approved included:
- A resolution to file for a solid waste grant;
- A $20,000 donations to the public library to digitize the Cherokee County Banner;
- Budget amendments on the purchase of a dump truck and a $22,000 increase to the Lake Fund;
- Appointment of David Brock to the Neches & Trinity Valleys Groundwater Conservation District Board; and
- Appointment of Janie Barber to the Jacksonville Beautification Committee Board.