By Will Johnson
GRAPELAND – The Grapeland City Council took action to amend an ordinance during the Tuesday, Oct. 11 meeting which may curtail several activities held throughout the City of Grapeland.
Information provided by the city states, “Ordinance 95-1 is hereby amended and revised to require a permit and documents/information as put forth herein for large assemblies, parades, activities with vendors or sales of any type and mass gatherings that are conducted in the City of Grapeland to adhere to the following (these exceptions are excluded – church events held on church property, school sponsored events and /or governmental events or others deemed so and approved by the city council):
- The responsible party must apply for each day of the event from the City of Grapeland, Texas. The responsible party must provide information such as location, time and date, contact information and approximate number of attendees.
- The responsible party must apply and receive the appropriate permits five days in advance of the first day of the scheduled event.
- Any music, PA system or noise device may be utilized at the scheduled event, however only admissible at 84 decibels or lower.
- If alcohol is served at the event, it is required that the responsible party provide security for the event at a ratio of one security guard for every 50 persons.
- The responsible party must be present at the event at all times.
- The responsible party is liable for all trash or litter left behind by attendees of the event.
- The responsible party is liable for any damages caused to the highway or any city owned property.
- The property owner, along with the responsible party must be made available for inspection of the location prior to the event by the Chief of Police or others the Chief deems necessary, such as the Fire Chief.
- The responsible party must provide liability insurance in the amount required by the city, based on the scope, size and other pertinent factors of the event. Normally, the amount will be $1 million to $5 million.”
In addition, the permit cost has been set between a minimum of $500 up to $3,000.
The penalties for being in violation of this ordinance include being charged with a Class C misdemeanor and a fine of “… not more than $500 for each individual non-compliance or violation per every half hour of non-compliance, when the event is underway. Non-compliance with obtaining a permit will be three times the value of the amount of what the permit would have cost; but in no case less than $1,000.”
The ordinance further declared this was issued because of an emergency. It stated, “The importance of this ordinance and the intent and purpose thereof intended for the benefit of the citizens and property owners for the City of Grapeland, Houston County, Texas, constitutes an emergency and imperative public necessity dictates that it be declared an emergency measure and that this Ordinance shall take effect immediately from and after its passage and accordingly, it is enacted.”
Mayor Balis Dailey said, “This will certainly help us if we ever get into an incident that could be troubling in nature. It also gives the police department the authority to enforce this.”
Former Grapeland Mayor George Pierson, who was present for the meeting, asked if this applied to gatherings on private property.”
The mayor replied, “Yes. Even though it is on private property, it does. All you need to is come in and request a permit. The ordinance also requires you to notify us if there is going to be any alcohol involved.”
Pierson asked, “On private property?”
Dailey said, “Yes. If there is alcohol involved, there may be people who are inebriated and some people may be coming and going. In small groups it’s no big deal, but in large groups – this follows the state law as far as mass gatherings. The idea is that when you’re on private property, you’re in pretty good shape. The problem is when you park to go into private property, you have people parking on the right of ways, on the roads and there is a possibility of something going wrong.”
Prior to the passage of the ordinance amendments, Municipal Judge Kathy Bush was honored for her years of service to the City of Grapeland. Mayor Dailey said, “We are going to recognize Judge Kathy Bush for her years of service. This is a plaque from the council, and now Judge, if you will come forward.”
Dailey stated, “It is a great pleasure that the City Council presents to Judge Kathy Bush in appreciation for her many years of service to the City of Grapeland as Municipal Judge from 2004 until 2016.”
In other matters brought before the council:
- It was reported the Municipal Court collected a total of $6,329.42 comprised of $3,744 in city revenue, $1,9902.26 in state revenue and $595.16 in delinquent fees. There were 22 citations written, 29 total dispositions, eight warrants issued and two three pro capias fines issued.
- Grapeland Police Chief Don Myers reported the department responded to 28 calls during the month of September.
- Grapeland Fire Chief Roger Dickey reported the Grapeland Fire Department responded to three fire alarms during the month of September. There were also 17 EMS calls during the month.
- It was reported the city used 8,620,000 gallons of water from the municipality’s water wells and 1,110,000 from the lake. There were 9,104,000 gallons of water sold during the month of September and 2,907,400 gallons of wastewater were treated, for a daily average of 96,913 gallons. It was further reported the lab analysis of the city’s water was well within the allowable standards and there was one water leak.
- The monthly profit and loss statement, budget adjustments and the payment of current invoices were approved by the council. The minutes of the Sept. 13, 19 and 22 were also approved.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.