On November 13, Coupland Mayor Jack Piper officiated the swearing in to office of three people. Sarah Torluemke began her duties as a new Alderwoman, replacing Eldridge Tidwell, who chose not to run for a second term. Barbara Piper and Susan Schmidt were also sworn in for a second term. Additionally, during the meeting, Ms. Piper was elected by her fellow Alderwomen to serve as Mayor Pro tempore for another year.
Three Alderman positions are up for consideration in November. Interestingly, this is a majority of what is formally known as the Board of Aldermen, which — together with the Mayor — form what we know as the Coupland City Council. So, if you like the course of the city government so far in its young life, this is your chance to keep it moving in that direction. If you’re not happy with its performance to date, this is your chance to make a change. Regardless of where you stand on the issues faced by Coupland as a community, get informed and get involved. The city council needs your input and your participation to have a fair chance at representing all of Coupland.
The Aldermen whose terms expire in November responded to a questionnaire sent by The Coupland Times. Here are the questions:
1. Do you intend to run for a second term as an Alderman? If not, please share your reason for not running.
2. What would you say was your most important contribution(s) to the City in your first term?
3. If you intend to stand for re-election, what issue(s) do you propose to focus upon in your second term?
Here are their responses, in the order received: Continue reading
Submitted by Jim Huntington:
Mess and weeds vs. messy freedom….or manicuring, by ordinance, the “wild” out of the wild west.
Coupland has not been incorporated for even one year, yet much of the content addressed by and concomitant action of the board has been to establish strictures regarding what people can or cannot do.
Coupland seems to be gripped in a “what-if” scenario, that it is better to enact a whole passel of ordinances and restrictions as a putative risk averse, protective bubble around us based on fears, prejudices and projections as to what might happen, along with what they think should happen. In my opinion we are on a dangerous trajectory down the proverbial ignominious slope.
I am more distressed by the imposition of official ordinance on people’s benign actions or inactions than I am by the putative aesthetic offense of weeds and mess.
Freedom is often messy. I’ll opt for messy freedom any day over imposed constriction and intrusion, having lived both.
As I keep stressing, our ostensible reason for incorporation was to preserve the hands-off attitude that held sway in Coupland since its inception. Wm’son County’s ample laws worked fine for us for years yet gave us room to breathe.
Virtually every advance of government is usually at the expense of personal liberty. We have seen the most egregious governmental intrusion in history, over the six years of emperor 0’s reign of coercive terror.
If the City of Coupland wants to clean up the messiness, I strongly suggest we first do what was done in the past and that is solicit volunteers who will work in concert with those who are offending certain sensibilities, to help clean their properties, persuading rather than compelling.
From The Tao:
“When taxes are too high, people go hungry.
When the government is too intrusive, people lose their spirit.
Act for the people’s benefit. Trust them; leave them alone.
The March meeting of the Coupland City Council was a mixture of old and new business, including the establishment of a Planning and Zoning Committee. Susan Garry was unable to attend. Here are the highlights:
- As of February 28, the City’s bank balance was $37,364.
- The Subdivision Ordinance was amended to add an exemption when an owner is conveying land to family members. The amended ordinance is now styled Ordinance No. 2014-3-13-01. Here is the exact wording:
Section 7, Exemptions, in Ordinance No. 2013-9-22-01, Subdivision Ordinance of the City of Coupland, are amended as follows:
A. Paragraph (6) was added to read as follows:
A plat is not required when a person makes a conveyance of one or more tracts, each of which is two acres or more in area, to members of his or her immediate family for their personal use; provided, however that each daughter tract is either located on a public road or has access to such a road by a private easement. However, if the family member sells the land to a non-family member within two years, it will be presumed that the conveyance was not for personal use.
During the discussion, it was clarified that if a family member were to sell the land to a non-family member within two years, all applicable provisions of the subdivision ordinance would apply retroactively to the original conveyance. Also, Mayor Piper noted that the City Council considers amendments to existing ordinances four times per year. (See the story on the October 10, 2013 meeting of the City Council for details.)
- The legal firm with which the City had an agreement for the provision of legal services split up into two firms. Mayor Piper recommended that the City sign a new agreement with Barney Knight’s firm (Knight & Partners) because of the lower cost and Coupland’s previous experience with Mr. Knight. The new agreement was approved.
- The Mayor reminded the Aldermen that the new City sales tax of 1.25% will go into effect on April 1.
- The City Council set a tentative date for Saturday, May 17, for a city-wide clean up day. Details are pending but it may include a large dumpster for city residents to use. The Council hopes to be able to make an announcement in the next issue of the Coupland Herald.
- The Council also discussed the possibility of arranging for mowing along certain roads, including County Road 458 but not including the state roads that go through Coupland. Mayor Piper and Eldridge Tidwell will gather information for possible future action.
- There was a discussion about the ongoing re-platting process for the Prinz Estates. The final plat has not yet been approved. More importantly, Karen Marosko (who is also the Secretary of the Coupland Water Supply Corporation, which actually deals with waste water or sewage) read a letter from Martin Samuelson, the President of the CWSC, to Howard Prinz. The letter addressed the question of whether or not a future buyer of the Prinz Estates would be required to connect to the existing sewer system or would be allowed to install their own septic system. Mr. Samuelson said that according to the Texas Water Code, since the land is within 300 feet of the CWSC system the new owner can hook up to the existing system but that if the land is more than two acres, they may request a variance from the board of the CWSC to establish their own septic system. Either way, the land owner pays all the expenses that might be incurred. [Editor’s Note: The details of this letter are important enough that it will be posted in a separate Coupland Times story.]
- A potentially major development for the future of Coupland was the adoption of Resolution No. 2014-2-13-02: “A Planning and Zoning Committee is to be formed for the purpose of examining zoning possibilities in Coupland. The committee will consist of Cole Barton, Sarah Torluemke, Loretta Patschke, Tim Worthy, Carolyn Haverland, Peter Wabbel, and Tanya Suchomel. The Mayor will convene the initial meeting.” Mayor Piper said he had previously contacted these citizens and that they had agreed to serve on the committee. He said that they will elect officers, look at what other cities are doing, get input from the public, and make recommendations to the City Council. Concerns were raised by various Council members, and one of the meeting attendees, about things like pig farms, waste management facilities, adult book stores, hazardous waste dumps, sludge farms, or a feral hog slaughterhouse being established within the city limits in the absence of zoning regulations. One Council member pointed out that there were state and county regulations that would apply in some cases. Possible zoning categories such as residential, commercial, mixed, and agricultural were mentioned at various times. One of the potential members of the committee, Sarah Torluemke, offered this explanation of how zoning would work in Coupland: “From my perception, it’s not so much to dictate to people what they can do. It is to offer a mechanism for guiding the growth in Coupland.” In commenting about the opposition to zoning previously expressed by Jim Huntington, Torluemke said, “From his perspective, he’s afraid that it will change Coupland and in my head the purpose for having some kind of zoning is to keep Coupland from changing in ways that we don’t want.” Alderman Schmidt said that in the past, Coupland was a more cohesive community and that community standards were different. She said, “Unfortunately, that’s not the case here any more . . . ’cause we’ve got so many rental properties and we’ve got other people moving in . . . The way people are now, today, you can’t rely on them to want to do the right thing . . . They want to do what’s right for them but not what’s right for the community.” How zoning might be enforced was also a subject of discussion as were the granting of variances. The resolution passed on a vote of three in favor of the resolution (Barbara Piper, Susan Schmidt, and Eldridge Tidwell ) and one opposed (Karen Marosko). Mayor Piper noted that the meetings of this committee will be subject to the provisions of the Open Meetings Act and will be publicized.
- During the citizens and events recognition portion of the meeting, Susan Schmidt praised the speaker at the general meeting of the Coupland Civic Organization, Dr. Dana Boehm, who talked about her travels to Africa and her efforts to promote sustainable living concepts.
- No citizens signed up to address the Council.
The next meeting is scheduled for April 10.
Submitted by Jim Huntington:
Resolution of honor/support
I realize the Coupland City Council has its plate quite full of business relating to our little community in its inaugural year but we are also part of the greater American community and what we are witnessing from the petty, vindictive, out of control tyrant, of questionable moral authority, posing as president/CIC is unconscionable.
This moral cretin has specifically directed some of his recent infantile attacks on the precious few living WWII veterans by punitively denying them access to their WW II Monument and at the same time has pointedly deprived volunteer Catholic priests from administering mass to active duty military personnel.
This is an outrage of epic proportions and our country and community forsakes its American heritage, reason and compassion if we do not take the time to raise our voice in formal resolution of support and honor for those who served and now serve, and also condemnation of the errant, repugnant actions of this spiritual dwarf who postures as a leader, while soiling himself, insulting the American people and profaning the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice as well as those currently volunteering to do the same.
The time is way past due to push back against the outrages of the punk pretending to be president and it must start from the bottom up.
In Memoriam : U.S. Constitution BORN 1787. DIED 2012.
Submitted by Jim Huntington:
Coupland survived just fine from the 19th century, when it was founded, through the whole 20th century and now into the 21st century.
I strongly encourage the Coupland City Council to use a fine filter for enacting rules, regulations, ordinances, impediments, intrusions, circumscriptions, etc.
For any actions being considered, simply ask, “If it hasn’t been necessary for well over a century, what justifies it being imposed now?”
Circumscribing people’s privacy/property rights to ostensibly “protect” us from nebulous possible incursions is itself an incursion. To quote the estimable contemporary philosopher, Dirty Harry Eastwood, “We got too much government.”
How do we “Keep Coupland, Coupland” if the political and bureaucratic enactments set as backfires, to prevent becoming any other over regulated municipality, become uncontrollable fires that will putatively destroy us and a way of life as surely as if we had been “annexed” by another municipality ?