Mason County News
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Wednesday, September 2, 2009 • Posted September 2, 2009

Do you follow the rules? I’m not really talking about playing games or even filling out government forms, I am mostly concerned here with whether you follow the rules we have for living together in a community. Now certainly there are some pretty silly rules about living with neighbors, and perhaps some of the funniest are here in Texas. Did you know it is illegal in Texas to take more than three sips of beer at a time while standing? It is also illegal to drive without windshield wipers; you don’t need a windshield, but you must have the wipers! You will be breaking the law if you shoot a buffalo from the second story of a hotel, or if you try to milk another person’s cow! In Houston, beer may not be purchased after midnight on a Sunday, but it may be purchased on Monday! And in Richardson, it is now illegal to place a “for sale” sign on a car if it is visible from the street!

Here in Mason we have tried very hard to make our rules understandable, fair and basically reasonable. We have written them as much as possible so that everyone will benefit from following them and no one will be unfairly burdened. There are a few new laws and ordinances that will take effect very soon, and a few old ones that often cause concern, and I want you to be aware of them so that you will not be caught without warning.

One of the newer ones is the Animal Control Ordinance that was passed last spring, it will take effect in a couple of weeks after a six month trial period. As always, dogs must be contained in a fence or secured by a chain, or on a leash if being walked, but now cats that roam and cause damage or problems on a neighbor’s property will be considered “at large” and untended if they are not registered at the City Hall. You don’t have to take your pet into the office, just go down and fill out the forms, prove rabies vaccination is current, and pay a minor $3.00 fee and your pet will be registered. There are other rules dealing with aggressive dogs, other wildlife as pets, reasonable care of animals, and an attempt to set rules about barking or disturbing dogs. If you want all of the rules stop in at the City office and ask for a copy or talk to our Animal Control Officer Barbie McGowan, she will try to help you understand the applicable rules.

Another new law came down from the state legislature, prohibiting the use of a cell phone while driving in a school zone. In the next couple of weeks, Texas Department of Transportation crews and City Street Crews will install new signs stating this new rule directly under the 20 m.p.h. speed limit signs in the school zones. Once the signs are installed, the Sheriff’s department will begin enforcing this law, and if you do not pay attention you may be subject to a $200 fine for any violation. While I am pointing out driving laws, please remember that all city streets in Mason have a 30 m.p.h. speed limit, and it might be wise to watch you speedometer and slow down in town.

The other set of rules that are always causing questions and confusing people is the wide variety of subjects covered by our current Zoning Ordinance. If you are planning new construction, remodeling or demolishing a building, buying or selling property, moving a new structure into town, putting up a sign or a fence, or even considering a business location, there may be something that will impact your decisions in the Zoning Ordinance. It covers a lot of different areas, and any brief summary would fail to cover even a portion of the specific rules, but we always work to answer your questions. Come by City Hall and ask our Building Official, Clyde Martin, and his assistant Vickie Montez are always willing to take a few minutes to listen to your ideas and plans and then try to help you understand which rules apply. It is much easier to check and ask questions before your project is too far underway; know that our intent is to regulate things for the health and safety of our entire community, not just cause problems for people or ideas.

Whenever people live together in a town or community there needs to be rules to regulate their life together. Some of them seem to be silly, some seem to be a burden, and some are there to cover problems that never seem to occur. Here in Mason, we have worked very hard for many years to try and make the rules and ordinances be fair, understandable and reasonable for all of our citizens. If you have concerns, complaints, ideas or suggestions, or if you just want to be more familiar with some particular rules, please take a minute to stop by City Hall and ask the right person for an explanation. If you can not find someone else to answer your questions, let me know and I will be sure you have an answer that will help or fit your particular situation. We do live in a wonderful community, and together we are working to make it the very Best Hometown in Texas.

Your friend and neighbor,

Brent Hinckley

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