KEMAH — Horse-drawn carriages will once again be on Kemah’s streets after the City Council approved temporary routes for the carriages.
The Kemah Carriage company can use routes similar to what it has used in the past while the council looks more closely at traffic issues and spaces for carriages to park and pick up riders.
At Wednesday’s meeting, the council approved the temporary routes by a unanimous vote and gave carriage company owner Chanci Mowry until March 5 to work with Kemah Police Chief Greg Rikard to come up with new permanent routes.
This is the first time the council has set routes for carriages, and Mayor Bob Cummins admitted the city’s horse-drawn carriage ordinance, originally approved in 2012, had not been properly enforced in the past.
It was only a temporary fix Wednesday, but Mowry said she believed she would be able to work with Rikard to come up with routes that will work for her business and the city.
“I’m very optimistic about working out a route with (the police department),” Mowry said.
Mowry was forced to pull her four carriages off the streets Jan. 10 after she was informed that her permit had expired on Dec. 31. Since then, Mowry said she has been losing money while she works in renewing the permit.
Being off the streets for nearly four weeks has cost her at least $20,000, Mowry said.
Mowry said this was the first year she has been asked to do anything other than provide health paperwork on her horse and pay a fee at city hall to receive her permit. But Mowry said she was willing to do what was asked of her and that she had “jumped through hoops” to get her permit approved.
Rickard also brought up the number of carriages the city will allow per day on the street and where they will queue to take on and drop of passengers.
While the council limited its discussion to the carriage routes on Wednesday, Mowry said limiting her to her just two carriages, when she has up to four she uses on busy weekends, would be detrimental to her business.
The council took no action on limiting the number of carriages, but did approve three routes. The routes mainly follow Kipp Avenue, Rikard said.
Cummins said he would like to see Mowry once more running her carriages.
Councilman Carl Joiner said approving temporary routes now would allow for more time to “see if we can work on this team.”
Joiner said a solution could be to have different routes for days when traffic is likely to be heavy and for a separate set of routes for less congested times of the year.