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Order signed, let ticketing commence

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

In a follow up to a discussion initiated on Thursday, July 28, Bandera County Commissioners approved an Order that confirmed earlier installation of signs that prohibit stopping, standing or parking in various locations throughout the county.
In July, fed-up residents living on Peaceful Valley Road implored commissioners to curtail illegal parking along the road and bridge that crosses the Medina River. Daytrippers – especially on weekends – apparently disregard 16 posted signs that prohibit illegal activity.
Additionally, the posted signs were apparently unenforceable because commissioners had failed to approve a necessary Order for their installation. According to Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Lynn Holt, commissioners court must approve each sign installation before ticketing and fining can commence.
Additionally, Bruce Eliker, a former employee with the Texas Department of Transportation and presumptive Precinct 2 Commissioner, added that the court must also authorize installation of TxDot signs.
Judge Richard Evans had found a prior reference to signs being installed at Peace Valley Road on May 21, 2010, but apparently the court had taken no action to authorize the sign placement.
“So, the installed signs are unenforceable at this time because there has been no authorization?” asked Precinct 2 Commissioners Bobby Harris. The answer to his query was apparently, “Well, yes …”
Consequently, on Thursday, August 8, commissioners approved an Order for signs already in place at:
• San Julian Bridge on Wharton’s Dock
• English Crossing where English Crossing Road crosses Medina River
• Elm Creek Road where it crosses the West Prong of the Medina River, off FM 337
• Stringtown Road in Medina
• Bandina Ranch Road where it crosses the Medina River
• Old San Antonio Highway – adjacent to Bandera High School
• Privilege Creek Road where it crosses Privilege Creek off Highway 16 South
• Peaceful Valley Road where it crosses Medina River off Highway 16 North
The Order prohibits parking, standing and shopping on both sides of the bridges and enables the already-posted sins to be enforced.
Taking a page from the books of Peaceful Valley Road residents, citizens living on English Crossing and in the Comanche Cliffs subdivision had their “day in court.” Several complained of incidents similar to those outlined in July.
They spoke of people stopping on the bridge, underage drinking, firing up barbecues, leaving dirty diapers and other trash after departing, spear fishing and using glass containers. “There are no porta-potties or trashcans. Where are these people using the bathroom?” one resident asked. “This is not a park it’s our subdivision.”
She also noted that it has also become difficult – if not impossible – for emergency vehicles to cross the English Crossing Bridge due to the illegal congestion.
Rather than vote in favor of the Order as written, Evans wanted “due process” to be followed which included a public hearing and newspaper notification. “I’m not against this, but I’d like to ensure that due process is being followed,” he explained.
However, County Attorney Janna Lindig voiced opposition, noting that she did not want “the can to be kicked down the road” in this instance. “Let’s get something going so it’s done,” she told the court.
Accordingly, the Order signed on August 11, under Section 251.156 of the Texas Transportation Code authorized and confirmed the installation of signage for the purpose of safety and free movement of traffic and to not interfere with the use of the property.