The Wichita Falls City Council on Tuesday opened the gate for different breeds of motorized vehicles to legally hit the residential streets of the city.
Councilors voted to add certain “unique vehicles” to an ordinance passed in June that allowed golf carts to operate on neighborhood streets.
Councilors considered the addition of the terms all-terrain vehicle, recreational off-highway vehicle, sand rail and utility vehicle to the ordinance.
Police Chief Manuel Borrego said he opposed the inclusion of the additional types of vehicles but especially objected to all-terrain vehicles and sand rails for safety and speed reasons.
Councilors excluded all-terrain vehicles and sand rails from the revised ordinance.
The ordinance limits operation of the vehicles to 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., requires operators to have driver’s licenses and sets a speed limit of 35 mph. The vehicles must have headlights, tail lamps, parking brakes, rearview mirrors and “slow moving” vehicle emblems.
With some members expressing reluctance, the council rescinded the city’s curfew for juveniles to conform to a new state law.
City Attorney Kinley Hegglund said he heard three special interest groups persuaded the Texas Legislature to lift restrictions on juveniles being out at all hours.
Councilors also put off a vote on a zoning change to allow construction of an apartment complex in north Wichita Falls. Developer Michael Grassi wants to build a 48-unit complex of single-story apartments at 2203 Missile Road.
A couple of residents voiced concerns about the project, related mostly to traffic and child safety in the vicinity of John Tower Elementary School, and water and sewer issues.
By law, passing such a zoning change requires six councilors to vote for it. Because Councilor Michael Smith was absent, the council put off the vote until Aug. 15.
The panel signed off on using $714,872 of the city’s federal COVID-19 relief money to help construct a new wing at the Faith Refuge facility for women and families.
The addition will provide 12 dormitory-style rooms for homeless families and increase capacity by 72 people, along with some offices and other spaces.
The organization estimates this will assist about 288 people per year. The organization will conduct a capital campaign to raise an additional $1.46 million needed for the project.