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Granite Shoals drops dirt road speeds, pushes for park sale ordinance

Lee Drive in Granite Shoals

The speed limit on Granite Shoals dirt roads and entrances to parks is dropping to 25 mph from 35 mph after the City Council approved an ordinance during its regular meeting Tuesday, Feb. 22. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

People driving into Granite Shoals parks or on unpaved roads will have to slow down after the City Council on Tuesday, Feb. 22, voted to drop the speed limit to 25 mph from 35 mph. The council also decided to pursue an ordinance that would prohibit the sale of city parks rather than a resolution as recommended by the city attorney. 

SPEED LIMITS

Late last year, Mayor Will Skinner asked council members and city staff to consider lowering the speed limit on dirt roads and at city parks, noting the number of children who live on gravel roads and enjoy the parks. 

“This is something we should have done a long time ago,” Skinner said. 

The ordinance states the speed limit will go into effect immediately, although city staff told the council it would take time to order and install the 50 signs needed to mark all 20 parks and numerous unpaved roads. 

Projected installation costs of the signs, poles, and concrete is $25,000.

“Normally, the police department won’t start to enforce (the new speed limit) until the signs are up,” City Manager Jeff Looney said.

ORDINANCE VS. RESOLUTION

The council also directed City Attorney Joshua Katz to draft a park ordinance against selling city-owned park land after reviewing a resolution he presented Tuesday. 

At a meeting Feb. 8, Katz advised councilors not to pass an ordinance, which would limit the actions of future councils and would not be enforceable. He said the council should instead pass a resolution, which would state the current council’s position on an issue but not keep a future council from taking action. 

“A resolution isn’t binding the way an ordinance is,” Katz said at the Feb. 8 meeting. “You wouldn’t bind a (future) city council from the legal options they have.”

He left that meeting thinking he had persuaded them and came back Feb. 22 with a resolution rather than an ordinance. They requested he return the next time with an ordinance. 

The possible sale of parks has been a topic of discussion in the city since a Parks Committee meeting Nov. 4, continuing with Katz’s memorandum dated Nov. 15 that outlined what must be done if city leaders want to sell parkland. 

jfierro@thepicayune.com