Cell phones may soon be banned in school zones

Cell phones may soon be banned in school zones

Most people, parents and children, alike are attached to their cell phones and feel lost without them, but soon those people just might have to learn to deal with that feeling in school zones.

The city council unanimously approved the first reading of ordinance No. 952 that would ban the use of handheld wireless communication devices in active school zones.

School zones are active when the school zones signs are blinking. The school zone times differ for each school depending on grade level.

Hands-free devices, such as Blue tooth, would still be allowed.

Violations are punishable with a ticket up to $200. The fine amount is set on an individual basis by a judge.

Police Chief Robert Finn said he does not expect the new ordinance to take effect until after spring break.

The ordinance still has to go through a second reading at the Jan. 20 council meeting and if approved then signs will be ordered, and a grace period will be decided upon.

The grace period cannot start until the signs have been ordered and posted in school zones.

Carroll ISD originally tried to place some signs on their own asking for voluntary compliance of no cell phone use, but got no compliance from motorist in school zones. The problem was then taken to Students and Parents Against Risk to our Kids in Southlake (SPARKS) and finally brought before council.

The purpose of the band is to increase safety in school zones by reducing driver distraction and improving ability to steer.

No one spoke publicly about ordinance, but school board member John Thane filled out a comment card recording his support for the ordinance.

In other council action members approved a resolution to establish an economic incentive to encourage people to connect to city waste water system in a timely manner.

The incentive would be for new residents. Once the sewer lines mains are fully constructed, the city will send a letter to the residence with the full details of the offer. Residents would then have 180 days to connect to the city’s sewer system. If residents comply with that the city will waive the $1,700 sanitary sewer tap fee.

A waste water impact fee of $1,141.80 would still be charged for new connections, and the resident would be responsible for that.

Alternatives to connecting to the city sewer would be septic tanks.

There was also a presentation on the Bicentennial Park project. The council was able to see the three options for fences. The council is leaning toward a two-sided fence or a precast concrete fence on the north side of the field. The quotes presented were for 10-foot fences to help control noise, but since the location of the batting cages has been moved to where the other cages are located, the council is now asking to also see quotes for eight-foot fences. No final decisions were made on fences. The council was just shown some of the options. Options were also looked at for batting cages, but no decisions were made. The location of the new cages has been moved in the new options and the cages will now be 358 feet from the nearest property line.

A date has not yet been set for when the Bicentennial Park project to appear on the agenda again for action, but the next meeting is set for Jan. 20.

SOURCE

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~ by sunil khemaney on January 10, 2009.

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