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Informal group to tackle property maintenance rules in Granite Shoals

Granite Shoals Code Enforcement Officer Preston Williams points to one of the problem properties with which he’s dealt during a May 2023 outing. Junk vehicles, dilapidated structures, mangled fences, and general piles of trash are consistent problems in some parts of the city. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

The Granite Shoals City Council has decided to create an informal working group to bring the city’s property maintenance ordinance up to date. The council’s recent attempts to amend the rules were met with public criticism due to the “subjective” nature of the proposed changes.

Granite Shoals’ property maintenance ordinance outlines the standards of how homes should be maintained. It covers things such as the allowable height of weeds and grass on lawns, the storage of defunct vehicles and equipment on properties, and more.

Former Place 6 Councilor Phil Ort brought up property maintenance amendments during his final full City Council meeting April 23. He asked that the ordinance be discussed at the next meeting to address the need for residents to cut their grass all the way to the street. 

In the following meeting on May 14, the council tabled the matter after listening to public comments against “subjective” changes concerning property aesthetics that were included in the agenda packet.

“The word ‘aesthetics,’ I think, is subjective and cannot have healthy enforcement,” said resident Robin Deberard during that meeting.

At the most recent meeting on Tuesday, May 28, the council decided to form the group to dive deeper into the matter.

“I’ve been thinking about this a lot,” Mayor Ron Munos said. “We’ve gotten quite a bit of citizen input, and with council’s indulgence, I’d like to suggest that we form a working group.”

The council unanimously approved Munos’ proposal. City Attorney Joshua Katz was directed to create parameters for the group’s functions and organization, which will likely be proposed at the council’s next meeting on June 11.

The group would consist of no more than three city councilors, city staff, and an as-yet-unknown number of interested residents who will review the property maintenance ordinance line by line and make recommendations to the council on how it could be adjusted. The group will not have the power to implement changes.

Munos explained that the group would be able to meet informally at any time and any place and discuss its work more loosely than a city committee constrained by the rules of the Texas Open Meetings Act.

“I think (the working group) might be a way to get a better ordinance that people can live with and might be more enforceable,” he said.

Place 4 Councilor Steve Hougen made a public address prior to the council’s vote, asking for cooperation between the city’s factions.

“We are a three-part team,” he said. “We have the City Council; we have the city administration and the citizens. We should not be fighting with each other. Let’s form a group, hold hands, and come up with something that everybody would be pleased with.”

dakota@thepicayune.com

1 thought on “Informal group to tackle property maintenance rules in Granite Shoals

  1. A government sponsored body “informally” meeting to get around the Open Meetings Act? Sure, that sounds about right for Granite Shoals. “Them there rules don’t apply to us!” Shameful. Taking a picture in front of someone’s property in an attempt to shame and bully them is also shameful. Y’all should be fired. Voters – your turn.

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