HOUSTON – The Houston Board of Aldermen met for their monthly meeting at City Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 6.

While in session, the subject of code enforcement came up, specifically in relation to three properties that Code Enforcement Officer Jonathan Blankenship brought before the board.

The properties, two of which are overgrown and one which is in violation of the junk car ordinance.

The board explored options of what could be done.

With the overgrown properties, the only option seemed to be declare the property blighted and post a 14 day notice. At that point if no action is taken, then the city regains ownership and can take action toward cleanup. Both properties are not inhabited.

The junk cars, however, were on an inhabited property. The next step was to write a ticket and take the property owner to court, as per the city ordinance.

It should be noted that all three properties had been notified multiple times by a letter sent certified mail and refused to take any action.

Once this discussion had ended, it segued into Alderman at Larger Barry Springer bringing up the Hardee's gravel lot.

He wanted to know if there had been any new developments from the owner, who had been sent a letter asking that he donate the lot to the city for a tax write-off.

The owner, who is from Arkansas, had not responded at the time of the meeting, so the board explored options because they said the lot is an eyesore.

Ultimately, they settled on barricading the access points too the lot from the city-owned Depot Street.

They will place steel pipes, set in concrete, along the length of Depot to ensure that no access can be made.

That would leave the Hardee's parking lot as the only access point to the gravel lot.

They hope that this will force the owner to come to the table and work something out.

Ward 1 Alderlady Kellie Atkinson made it a point that it the barriers are temporary until something can be worked out with the owner of Hardee's.

Aldermen also:

– Approved the minutes for Sep. 1, 8, 15 and 24.

– Approved moving forward with placing a sewer line in front of the city shop going out into industrial park for the new Ware Milling property, as well as opening the door for new developments in the future.

– Discussed tampered water meters at two different properties.

– Heard from Sean Johnson, Chickasaw Development Foundation Director. He informed the board that the fall open house was successful and that there would be a fall open house on Nov. 8. He also said that there will be a pop-up car show on Oct. 24.

– He then updated them on the theater project, which has started cleaning out the building and doing necessary demolition such as rotted floors and such.

– He also asked permission to put in a splash pad if the funding could be obtained. The most desirable location as of now is beside the civic center at Legion Lake. The ground is level and the equipment is still in place from when the community pool used to be there. The board approved.

– Heard from Park and Rec Director John Gravat, who asked that the board consider demolishing the kids park. According to Gravat, the park is a danger to the public, and the city is liable for any injury.

The board agreed, and moved to deconstruct the park.

However, the park at Joe Brigance will soon be getting an update with all new equipment, as soon as the funds can be met, which they are well on their way to doing so.

– Approved promoting Jeffrey Jones and Billy Watkins to Sergeant with the Houston Fire Department, which comes with a $0.50 raise.

– Entered into executive session to discuss personnel.

– Asked City Attorney Elizabeth Ausbern to look into the process of changing from an elected police chief to an appointed one.

– Approved payment of claims.

– Adjourned.

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