Corsicana — Join the discussion on this story by using the Facebook app to the right
The golden rule of boat ramps isn’t working on Richland Chamber Reservoir boat ramps, so the lake planning and zoning commission is proposing some criminal penalties.
The ordinance calls for no firearms, fireworks, alcohol, campfires, unleashed pets, glass bottles and a curfew on boat ramps and in the parks.
“By and large, the people who use them use them the right way, but at night time some people go out there and cause damage, and people who go out to use them can’t use them to their full capacity because the bathrooms are broken, toilets stolen, and there’s broken glass in the parking lots,” explained Phil Seely, planning and zoning director for the county.
“There is an ordinance in place, but this one reiterates and strictly defines some of the actions. It would establish a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. every day including holidays because it seems most of the vandalism and destruction is happening at night time. That’s our main goal in doing this.”
Violating the ordinance, would be a Class C misdemeanor, but it would be enough to give sheriff’s deputies some leverage in discouraging miscreants.
“We don’t want to catch people doing something bad,” Seely said. “We don’t want them out there doing these things in the first place.”
The proposal came from people who were complaining about the conditions in the parks, said Terry Jacobson, chairman of the planning and zoning commission.
“There have been reports about people hanging around the boat ramps, trash and bottles being broken on the concrete ramps, things like that,” Jacobson said. “It creates a nuisance in the area, especially when the water’s down a little bit.”
Unlike many other North and Central Texas lakes, Richland Chambers Reservoir is not an U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lake, so it only has five public boat ramps on the entire lake, which tends to concentrate activity, good and bad.
“Obviously, we can’t regulate the private boat ramps, but this ordinance gives us the ability to regulate the same kinds of conduct like the city can regulate conduct in public parks,” Jacobson said. “It was really Phil (Seely’s) idea to create clear standards so we can ticket people who don’t respect the public boat ramps and areas around them.”
The proposed ordinance has been discussed at both the July and August meetings, and will be brought back up Sept. 6 at the next regular meeting. The county is also looking at regulations around Corps-owned lakes, such as Navarro Mills.
The proposed ordinance hasn’t been approved by the zoning commission, and would still have to be approved by the county commissioners court, also.
“I’m surprised nobody’s thought about it in 25 years, but nobody had,” Jacobson said.
Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com. Want to “sound off” to this article? E-mail: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com