Ordinances help city prepare for anticipated oil activity

March 15, 2013

Various ordinances were discussed at the Sweetwater City Commission meeting on Tuesday. Many of the matters that have been and continue to be discussed are the result of the city making preparations for the anticipated activity from the Cline Shale oil development.
The second and final reading of the ordinance amending Chapter 19 of the city’s Code of Ordinances — entitled “Motor Vehicles and Traffic” — was approved, which prohibits the parking of recreational vehicles (RVs) in public streets, as well as other commercial and recreational equipment.
The city believes it is necessary to institute the change now with the expected increase of oil activity in the area. The first reading of this particular ordinance took place at the February meeting.
The ordinance, as stated in the meeting, will go into effect five days after its publication. Warnings will be issued first to offenders before tickets are given to continual violators.
And while another ordinance was recently passed, which dealt with freight and portable containers, approval was given on the request by staff to propose changes to this ordinance in order to make it more “construction company friendly” for local businesses.
The changes were requested by Precinct 2 and 4 commissioners Jim McKenzie and Dr. Jerod Peek, respectively, after feedback was received from local construction companies. The ordinance states that portable containers must be anchored and painted to be in compliance.
However, concerns were raised on whether semi-permanent containers — which are used by companies to collect debris at each site only for the duration of the project — would still need to be anchored and painted. Among the discussion, it was stated that if changes were made, the changes must benefit everyone.
With around 66 portable containers currently located within city limits, a majority of them are placed in an industrial zone. However, the industrial zones are not centralized in one area, but are scattered across town.
Should the city want to consider the formation of a new zone or look for a higher zone, legal counsel would be required. While nothing was changed as a result of the action item, its approval allows for changes to be formally considered.

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