Tuesday, September 30, 2014
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Palmhurst proposes texting while driving ordinance

City-of-Palmhurst-LogoDuring a city council meeting this week, Palmhurst Police Chief Michael Silva proposed a no texting while driving ordinance for the city. Silva said the city council brought up the topic to him a while back and he has been looking at what other cities have done.

The texting while driving ordinance will be similar to other cities. Drivers will be allowed to use their phones, but would prohibit texting while they are driving in Palmhurst.

Silva said he thought about an ordinance to not allow hand-held devices while in the city limits, but decided that would be too extreme. He said they would start with the no texting while driving ordinance and then make further restrictions on cell phones if that is needed down the road.

The city already has 23 signs ready to put in place around the city once the ordinance is approved. The ordinance will be brought back to the next council meeting for action. The ordinance will be published in the newspaper and warnings will be given out for a short time period before citations are given.

“It’s to avoid these types of accidents,” said Silva. He knows of a couple of accidents last month that were caused by texting while driving. Palmhurst averages 16 to 20 accidents per month, including parking lot accidents.

Also discussed was a proposed truck route ordinance. The ordinance would limit large trucks to only use E. Mile 3 Road, Conway Avenue and Shary Road from 2 Mile North to 4 Mile. Silva said most of the other roads in Palmhurst are not designed to handle large loads and use by trucks could damage roads like Mayberry. Use of other roads would be allowed as long as they are being used for local business, not to just drive through the city.

A lot of discussion took place regarding a possible taxi cab ordinance. A taxi company recently applied for a permit to conduct business in the City of Palmhurst.

The city wants to keep consistent with what surrounding cities have done, but doesn’t want to be too strict with regulations. The taxi cab services would be monitored by the police department to make sure vehicles have current inspections, tags and insurance.

Also considered was, since the city is small, if they would restrict the number of vehicles, where they are allowed to park and if there would be a limit as to how many taxi cab services would be allowed within the city.

Ramiro J. Rodriguez Jr., mayor, said he would want to keep any regulations and rates reasonable so as to not discourage other companies.

City Attorney Darrel Davis said an example he gave them represents an unprecedented regulation of a business that no other business in Palmhurst is subjected to.

“Do you want to regulate this business Harry Reid style?” asked Davis. Davis added that a neighboring city has a very long and complicated taxi cab ordinance, about five pages long, and he didn’t think Palmhurst would want to go that route. “Give us some guidance in what you want to see in that ordinance.”

You’re concerned about safety, ownership, a permit, basic things, said Davis. These are the basic things Davis included in his short version of a proposed ordinance.

Silva said all he suggests is a background checks, the vehicles are safe, and licenses are up-to-date – things of that nature so it isn’t a hazard to the general public. He does not wants anything extreme, just something reasonable that we expect from any business, he added.

The mayor said they would look into setting up some reasonable minimal standards and would bring it back to the city council to approve at a later date.

In other items, construction of the new H-E-B store is still on schedule and drainage issues in some areas are being examined. Water collected in an area on Stewart Road, north of east Mile 3 Road last week. This is an area the city is looking at fixing. Because of the rains and hurricane season, the city is also making sure drainage culverts are clear of any debris so water can drain where it needs to go in the event of a heavy downpour.

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CoverageAreaThe Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.

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