Pets take center stage at council meeting
Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

Aug. 3, 2005 -- Exotic animals took center stage at Tuesday evening’s Sulphur Springs city council meeting, even though there were business items on the agenda of greater significance.

Pat Murray had petitioned the city to revise a section of the city’s Code of Ordinances pertaining to animal control to allow him to keep two alpacas in his yard.

The ordinance amendment was passed on the first of two required readings on a motion by Councilman Freddie Taylor, seconded by Chris Brown.

Before the question was called by Mayor Clay Walker, Bobby Brown told the council his property joins the yard where the alpacas will be kept.

Brown, who said he moved to the city from the country to get away from livestock, told the council he and his family used his back yard and did not want the animals just across the fence from him.

“What is livestock and what is not?” Brown asked the council.

A number of people spoke in support of Murray and his pets and described them as quiet, loving and well behaved animals that were very affectionate.

The two alpacas, according to their owner, each weigh about 140 pounds, stand less than four feet tall, are both males and have been neutered.

The ordinance amendment must receive approval of the council on second and final reading in September before taking effect.

In other action, council members unanimously approved a resolution supporting an economic development project proposed by Sulphur Springs-Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation.

Roger Feagley, EDC executive vice president, told the council a California-based firm is wanting to locate a tire warehouse and distribution center in the old HON building on Hillcrest Drive.

The agreement with Green Ball Inc. would bring 16 new jobs to the Sulphur Springs economy.

The tires warehoused by Green Ball would range from four-inch tires for wheelchairs to giant tires for off-road earth-moving equipment.

With a single dissenting vote, the council approved a special use permit requested by China House restaurant that would allow the sale of alcoholic beverages.

Council members asked if the restaurant would have to become a private club in order to be able to sell the beverages and were told by City Attorney Jim McLeroy that using the “Uni-Card” system would meet the requirements of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

On final reading, the council gave approval to a request from David Black for a zoning change for property at 2019 South Broadway St. from single family to light commercial zoning.

Approval was also given to a resolution authorizing the city manger to apply for funding for the downtown revitalization project from the Texas Department of Agriculture Downtown Revitalization Program.

The city will learn next week if the application scored enough points to be selected by the state agency. If the funding is not received, the city manager told the council there were other funding possibilities that would be pursued.

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