Marion council seeks public input on semi-truck parking ordinance

The Marion City Council at its Oct. 3 meeting is asking for suggestions from the public and particularly truck drivers about a proposed heavy semi-trailer truck parking ordinance.

After discussing the issue, council members agreed to hold off on making any decisions for two months to see what feedback they receive from truck drivers.

?Everything comes in a truck anymore,? said Councilor Bill Holdeman. ?Maybe the truckers will have a better idea then we do.?

Councilor Jerry Kline said he thinks maybe the problem will heal itself after people read about the issue.

The problem

The matter in question was prompted by an incident that happened in early September involving a truck-tractor jumping the curb into a front yard within the city limits, according to information presented by City Attorney Keith Collett.

The problem, Collett said, is that the city has no ordinance restricting the ?tractor unit? of the truck and therefore no citation could be issued.

?We have an ordinance restricting trailer parking on public or private streets, but not the tractor part,? he said.

?To the best of my knowledge,? City Administrator Doug Kjellin said, ?we have never needed one because most people are good neighbors and maybe some things you just shouldn?t do in your neighborhood (referring to the recent truck parking violation).?

Definitions

Kjellin in the proposed ordinance defined the word ?truck? as transport, truck tractor, farm tractor, road tractor or any vehicle of a licensed capacity of 24,000 pounds gross vehicle weight, which includes the weight of the vehicle combined with tractor and trailer, driver, fuel and cargo.

The word trailer in the ordinance, he said, would be defined as what is commonly known as a semi-trailer or tractor-trailer, whether fully enclosed or flatbed.

Proposed ordinance

According to the ordinance any truck parked for more than 45 minutes on any public street could be ticketed.

The ordinance went on to state that no truck shall be allowed to have its engine running for more than 45 minutes while parked within any residential district and that no truck on any street will block the lanes of traffic or hinder the free flow from either direction.

A truck may park parallel to the curb on the Main Street for loading and unloading purposes, provided that the truck must not remain any longer than 45 minutes.

The ordinance also stated that no truck or trailer can be parked within any residential area, including private drive, within the city without a truck trailer parking permit.

The following requirements will be investigated and considered by the city in making a determination of whether a permit will be granted. Those include:

? trucks and trailers parked only on private property and access to the parking area must not cross any city improvements that could sustain damage;

? street access to the property must be approved by the street superintendent with no heavy trucks on streets not conducive to its weight;

? the owner/operator must have a petition signed by 100 percent of the residential property owners with a 200-foot radius of the property prosed for truck-trailer parking;

? only one truck or trailer per permit is allowed; and

? property must have electricity available for the tractor.

?If (the council) thinks this is advisable or necessary, under the circumstances, here is an ordinance to restrict parking of the big tractors on public streets and private property in residential areas,? Kjellin said.

Truck drivers input

?This ordinance is listed as a discussion item,? he said.

Before approving the ordinance, however, Kjellin agreed that it would be advantageous to get interest from local truckers in drafting an ordinance involving their participation that would meet everyone?s needs.

?I hate to see truckers being treated like second-rate citizens,? Holdeman said.

Councilor Chris Meierhoff said he has seen some trucks parking on streets and it does restrict the traffic flow.

?Well, not any more than any other vehicle on the street,? said Councilor Steve Smith. ?We have plenty of streets where people park (their vehicles) on both sides except in the wintertime when motor is running.?

Smith said if the council approves the proposed ordinance it would restrict someone from parking in their own driveway.

?That is being a little too cumbersome on that (part of the ordinance),? he said. ?I just wish common sense would rule.?

Collett responded by saying, ?Common sense is often governed by statute.?

Holdeman said, ?If (truckers) use Lincoln Park up there to the east by the youth center that might solve the problem.

Holdeman asked Collett if he planned on talking with truckers about the issue.

?I would hope to,? he said.

Kjellin reiterated that the reason the proposed ordinance was a discussion item rather than an action item was to bring the problem to the public?s attention.

Raise awareness

?Maybe we can raise awareness rather then legislate,? Kjellin said.

Meierhoff added that he believes there has to be some ground rules too.

?Out at the business park,? Kjellin said, ?there is parking behind the Auto House and the city has not had one call since they have been open.?

Collett said he thinks the engine running on parked semi-trailers happens more in the summer months rather than this time of year.

?(Truckers) don?t need to run the motor,? he said. ?This is when we see them in the driveways, and I agree with Steve?if a truck is in their driveway?what they do on their own property is their own business.?

The question then becomes when the semi-trailer is not on a private driveway, where do we need to legislate common sense, Collett said.

Police Chief Josh Whitwell was also asked for his input on the subject.

For Whitwell, if the initial reason for the proposed ordinance involved the front yard incident, he agreed with Collett that something needs to be done, but he also said that what Smith said is true too about someone?s property.

?The whole reason for this,? Whitwell said, ?is because (the truck) wasn?t in the driveway. If it was in the driveway, it would have been a different story.?

Mayor Mary Olson agreed to put the issue on the back burner and see what suggestions or comments they receive.

Other business

In other business, the council:

? unanimously voted to authorize Kjellin to make an offer of up to $500 for property at 311 E. Santa Fe with the hope of recouping the cost of demolition and purchase at a later date.

? authorized Kjellin to negotiate with the new housing developer on Eisenhower Street near the ball park for a 15- to 20-foot easement. If the developer agreed, Kjellin said it would be to the city?s advantage to purchase the easement. ?It would allow us to bring water/sewer from Denver up to this property line,? he said.

? agreed to repair a retaining wall request by Teresa Huffman after city crews damaged the structure. No cost was determined for repairs.

? approved listing items on Purple Wave to dispose of unwanted city property.

Some items include a 1995 and 2002 Crown Victoria vehicles, fire truck tank, four old fire hydrants, 300-gallon totes, small Ford tractor, 8-inch mower deck, air compressor, brush chipper, and more.

? approved a new statute offering a payroll card system or direct deposit option for all city employees.

The next council meeting is at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17.

More from Hillsboro Free Press
Budget solution still an elusive target
For most of the week, the Legislature was still idling as we...
Read More