HOUSTON – The Houston Board of Aldermen voted 3-2 not to move forward with barricading the gravel parking lot between Hardee's and McDonald's.
It was voted on at a previous meeting to erect a temporary barrier on the city's right of way on Depot Street, in order to prevent trucks from accessing the lot from Depot Street, leaving the only access point to the lot through the Hardee's parking lot. It was stated that the issue was trucks damaging city streets and dragging mud into the street.
This was in an effort, according to the board, to have Hardee's do something with the lot to bring it up to code, and thus to prevent the mud spilling into the road when it rains.
However, there had been no action taken in the way of placing the pipes to block access, and so it was brought up again at the meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 15, by Alderman At Large Barry Springer.
He asked where the Public Works department was on that project, when another board member questioned the standing of the project.
“I thought this was a mute subject,” said Ward 1 Alderlady Kellie Atkinson. “I thought they had gotten gravel and it had been spread and we were all good now, is that not the case?”
She went to to say that the vote was to put up temporary barriers until the issue had been resolved and she felt it had by the gravel being spread in the lot, because it improved the look of thelot and the mud problem. However, Springer did not feel that this was the case.
“The issue of the mud and big trucks in the middle of town is not resolved,” said Springer.
Atkinson then asked that what exactly was the solution that they were looking for.
“What are we looking for, I mean who is the person that says yes this is up to standards, no this is not up to standards?”
He said that it needed to be paved to be in accordance with the city ordinance.
“What I had asked for is that we demand that they bring it up to city specs,” said Springer. “Specs that we passed a year or two ago about parking lots.”
Atkinson responded by saying that it was not legal to force someone to pave a parking lot.
“Right, but legally you can't do that. We can have them put down new gravel, and make sure its not like a mud pit, but we can't go in and tell people 'you've got to pave your parking lot.'”
She went on to say that they had, in her opinion, satisfied the requirements, and asked what else he wanted for them to do?
“I want them to not have a truck terminal two blocks from our square,” said Springer. “My issue was, let's just mark it off where they can't come in off of Jefferson onto Depot, let's just mark off our right of way on Depot Street.”
Ward 3 Alderman Frank Thomas went on to state that he had been absent from the meeting in which the initial vote was taken to barricade the lot, but that he was not in favor of continuing with it.
“I just think its not necessary,” said Thomas.
Springer made a motion to place permanent barricades on the City right of way on Depot street to block access to the lot from Depot Street. The motion was seconded by Ward 4 Alderlady Willie McKinney.
When it went to a vote, there were two yes votes, Springer and McKinney, and three no's, Atkinson, Thomas and the deciding vote, Ward 2 Alderlady Shenia Kirby Jones.