Monday night, July 11, City Council discussed the possibility and what the implications of a No Texting While Driving Ordinance would entail. The city of Angleton passed a similar ordinance in September of last year. The Council and Police Chief Keith Traylor cited Angleton as a role model if the Council decides to create the ordinance.
However, the idea did not go without opposition. Councilman Adrian Gaspar vocalized his opinion when he said it may be easier to wait until Texas Legislation passes it as state law early next year, assuming Texas passes it. Additionally, Chief Traylor voiced his concern it may be hard to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that a driver has violated the ordinance, especially when there are no concrete methods in proving one was using a phone while operating a vehicle.
Nonetheless, some Council members said the ordinance could dissuade drivers, saving lives. Council Member Jerome Hudson advocated for the ordinance when he said, “Even if we can save one life, it’s worth it. I’m an advocate for safety.”
Mayor Delores Martin cited Angleton’s two public hearings before the ordinance was passed as an example of what the Council should do. Ultimately, the Council agreed two public hearings would be beneficial in examining how the community would feel about the potential ordinance. City Manager Kyle Jung noted that two public hearings will be hosted by the Council in between now and next summer, although no concrete dates have been set.
City Council also discussed the need for varying methods in surveying land when it comes to drainage issues. City Engineer Dan Johnson presented that LIDAR, a surveying method that uses countless laser lights to depict the topography of land, is not always accurate when calculating where water will drain from a property. Instead, he advocated, certain cases and properties, such as Lakeland Subdivision, be inspected by one-the-ground, site-specific surveyors.
The board agreed that site-specific surveyors could be more beneficial than off-the-ground LIDAR in certain situations, but insisted any proposed changes to the already-agreed-upon Master Drainage Plan be reported to the Council for review. Council Member Lorraine Hehn emphasized the City Council needs to be held accountable for issues such as drainage, and that communication over any change is vital to Manvel’s citizens.
City Council meeting agendas are posted online 72 hours in advance. The next scheduled meeting is Monday, July 25.
Story by Aiden Park