County commissioners discuss nuisance policy on out-of-city properties

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The Gray County commissioners met on Monday morning for a regularly-scheduled meeting, their second of the month.

After approving the standard house-keeping items, county judge Chris Porter opened a discussion about public nuisance properties outside of the city limits of Pampa.

“The City of Pampa approached us about some properties that are in the ETJ (Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction) that are hazards on U.S. Highway 60 and on some of the thoroughfares coming through town,” Porter said. “They asked if we had something in policy that would allow us to be able to condemn those properties and allow the City to abate them.”

Porter said he consulted with another County who started dealing with the same issue and borrowed some of their ideas for Gray County’s policy.

Basically a complaint would be turned in and the County attorney would make a judgment about the property to turn into the judge. The commissioners court would have to agree the property is a threat to the public safety.

“At that time the owner would have a timely manner to take care of that property and bring it up to code,” Porter said. “If they choose not to do that then we would consider it to be a nuisance and at that point in time if someone like the City of Pampa would like to tear it down, we would enable them to do so.”

The policy comes in the wake of a property a few feet from the city limits that has been a problem and for the City of Pampa and had squatters residing in it and even started a fire in it to stay warm.

Commissioner Joe Wheeley said his only concern about the policy was the overreach of a government agency taking action against private property owners.

Porter said while he agrees with the idea of “it’s my property and I’ll do with it what I want,” when a building has an owner who doesn’t take care of it and maintain it they are forcing the government’s hand.

Porter added the County and City plan to work with owners if certain time-lines need more time to take care of their property.

The County Commissioners tabled this item to give them more time to review the policy.

The commissioners also tabled action on a construction project on County Road 3 and Highway 60. The project is to prepare the road for the added traffic of a potential new business coming to Pampa, should Pampa be the location the business chooses.

Commissioner Lake Arrington will continue to work with the Texas Department of Transportation on the logistics for the project, but the commissioners don’t want to take any action until they know Gray County will be the site of this new business.

The commissioners approved the following items:

• Pay bills as approved by the County Auditor.

• Line item transfers.

• Budget amendments.

• Treasurer’s Report.

• County Clerk’s Report.

• Accept Training for Commissioners Hours.

• IMS Health Plan Upgrade.

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