Thursday, December 14, 2017
News Roundup

Don't worry, Gulfport, your weeds are safe for now

GULFPORT — First it was trash cans and outdoor sofas. Last week it was weeds and piles of rubbish.

City officials continue to drop new or revised cleanup laws in front of the City Council, hoping the lawmakers will pick them up and toss them into the city's code of ordinances.

Some go in easily. Others are met with resistance.

The council voted 5-0 on first reading Tuesday to cut the length of time that trash — special pickup items and brush — can sit on front lawns from one week to three days.

But first reading on another ordinance that would have prohibited weeds and grasses from growing over sidewalks and curbs was tabled after a lot of discussion on what sorts of vegetation would be prohibited.

The ordinances aimed at tidying up Gulfport — one or two of which have appeared on recent agendas — are based on complaints from residents at a town hall meeting in November.

They are trickling in one or two a meeting, City Manager Jim O'Reilly said, because the ordinances can be very time-consuming as the council discusses each one individually.

"I believe this provides a more manageable process," he said.

Many of the measures, including plant growth on sidewalks, are for safety — people can trip and fall — as well as aesthetics. Few measures go unchallenged.

Council member Sam Henderson once again expressed his reluctance to legislate actions on private property.

"What is a weed to one person might not be a weed to another," he said.

The matter will be discussed at a workshop Thursday at the Catherine Hickman Theater, 5501 27th Ave. S, which will be used as council chambers through March 20 as repairs are made to the air conditioning and ventilation system in City Hall.

In other business: The city announced the League of Women Voters will hold a candidates' night at 7 p.m. on Feb. 6 at the Catherine Hickman Theater.

The Ward 1 seat currently held by David Hastings and the Ward 3 seat currently held by Jennifer Salmon are up for re-election on the March 13 ballot.

Hastings is challenged by Dan Liedtke; Salmon is challenged by James Perry.

All voting in the nonpartisan races is at-large, meaning the entire city votes in every race.

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