The Paris City Council passed a resolution on Monday, Aug. 6 that bans smoking in city parks.

The ordinance was sponsored by City Council member Tonya Baumgartner. It bans smoking in all city parks or future parks including Eiffel Tower Park on Courthouse Square. The proposed ordinance passed unanimously and was read three times. The City Council also passed an emergency clause making the ordinance effective immediately.

City Council members began the meeting handling unfinished business. Under unfinished business, the city council passed a resolution amending the 2018 budget and adding $12,500 to an already budgeted $15,000 for ballfield improvements, bringing the total line item to $27,500.

Council member Michael Knowles had done research on fencing all three smaller ballfields. The estimates are approximately the same as the entire amount budgeted.

“Our ballfields all need work, this is a good start replacing the fencing,” Mayor Daniel Rogers said. “They will make the fields safer to play on, as well. Also in the resolution, we added $7,500 for maintenance of city properties. We need more work done to our existing buildings then previously anticipated.”

The council read two proposed ordinances that were recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

The first dealt with RV park regulations.

“We have someone interested in bringing an RV park to Paris but they thought the regulations were too strict when it came to how long someone could stay primarily,” Rogers said. “The proposed changes would allow someone to stay at the park for up to a year. Every three months they would have to get a permit after their first three-month stay. It will be an easy permit to get and won’t cost anything. Basically, they just need to describe their reason for staying longer, whether it be work or whatever. Someone staying a year wasn’t allowed in the current ordinance which passed in the early 2000s.

“No one has brought an RV park here until now, so we have been listening and studying changing policy so that we can accommodate a park,” Rogers said.

The second proposed ordinance dealt with allowing a traditionally built home to be brought into property zoned R-1, the most restrictive zone.

“A traditionally built home will still have to be brought in with several restrictions like underpinning and there are plenty of protections to make sure junk houses won’t be brought in,” Rogers said. “Another issue here is a lot of times a resident will ask to rezone to R-2 which is less restrictive and with intent to bring in a traditionally built home. But R-2 also allows double wides, which may in some instances change the look of a neighborhood. This proposed ordinance protects the city from rezoning thinking a traditional home is coming in then the owner changes their mind and brings in a double wide. Both these ordinances were put on there first reading. A proposed ordinance has to be read three separate times before being able to be passed. They were both tabled and will be brought up under unfinished business next month.”

As an add on, the City Council unanimously passed a resolution allowing Rogers to sign an amendment to its existing contract with the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority, which is sells wholesale electricity to the city. The amendment will allow for a 1.5 megawatt solar facility to be built.

“I need this amendment to keep moving forward on bringing solar power to Paris,” Rogers said. “My time line is have this signed and finish my research and sign a contract with a solar provider this fall and be online by May of 2019. I’m excited about bringing solar to Paris and feel very confident that I will be able to sign a contract this fall.”