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Ordinance gives Granite Shoals ‘teeth’ in creek cleanup on private property

Granite Shoals to purchase two more radar signs

After the success of two radar speed-limit signs in encouraging drivers to comply, the city of Granite Shoals is purchasing two more for Valley View Drive and Phillips Ranch Road. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

The city of Granite now has more “teeth” in getting residents to clean up creekbeds on their property.

The City Council approved a drainage maintenance ordinance during its Tuesday, Dec. 15, regular meeting. The ordinance allows the city to contact residents about cleaning creekbeds on private property. If a property owner does not comply, the ordinance gives city employees permission to go onto the property to clean the creekbed and then pass the cost to the property owner.

Under the ordinance, councilors will be alerted when a cleanup will cost $5,000 or more so they can determine the next steps.

“We have to get the creeks cleaned up,” City Manager Jeff Looney said. “The council would be involved in the decisions, most likely the big cases.”

Looney said some debris in creekbeds is a result of flooding and heavy storms, but people also throw trash in them. Debris and trash can back up waterflows during heavy rains and cause flooding. In addition, garbage can get washed into Lake LBJ, and some items, such as batteries, can leach harmful materials into the soil and water.

If they must, Looney said, the city can go to municipal court for a court order, a last resort.

“Citizens don’t need to be contributing to the problem of putting wood and debris in the creekbeds,” Looney said. “We have to have a process to deal with it. If there’s a major storm, and things are in the creekbeds, we need a way to work with citizens to clean it up. This gives us the authority to work with citizens to get on properties, and if they’ve been putting stuff in there they shouldn’t, it gives us some teeth.”

The City Council also learned that a friendly reminder can deter drivers from breaking the speed limit.

The city has two radar signs — one on Prairie Creek Road, the other on Phillips Ranch Road — and, according to Granite Shoals police, they work. So much so that the City Council agreed to purchase two more for $5,799 total.

The signs detect an approaching vehicle’s speed. If it’s over the limit, which is displayed on the sign, the number flashes. If it’s at or below, a polite “thank you” appears.

Granite Shoals Police Chief Gary Boshears reported to the council that the sign on Phillips Ranch Road “showed a 95 percent (speed limit) compliance” from drivers.

The signs are not used for issuing tickets.

The two new signs will be placed on Valley View Drive and Phillips Ranch Road at a second location.

jfierro@thepicayune.com