By Linda Dillman
Canal Winchester is tightening eight-year-old legislation restricting semi-trucks from using parking lots as rest stops from the early morning hours to a 24-hour ban.
In 2006, at the request of condominium residents living next to the Walmart parking lot near West Waterloo Street who complained of sounds and fumes from idling trucks, Canal Winchester City Council passed an amendment restricting transient commercial vehicle parking in the off-street parking area of any office building, retail store or shopping center between the hours of 1-6 a.m.
Complaints continued, which resulted in the passage of an amendment restricting drivers from “stopping, resting or idling” a transient commercial vehicle in “an off-street parking area of any office building, retail store or shopping center for the purpose of the occupant using the lot to rest or sleep in or near the commercial vehicle.”
While condominium resident Michelle Powers appreciated council’s efforts, she expressed frustration at the lengthy process.
“We’re protecting semis more than residents,” said Powers. “Once one semi starts idling, more come in.”
Council recently discovered signage needs to display the parking restriction ordinance number in order to be enforceable under the new amendment. The city is awaiting the necessary decal. In the meantime, police officers are enforcing violations under the old ordinance.
“We go out and work on it every night,” said Fairfield County Deputy Sheriff Sgt. Marian DeVault. “We’ll chase them off.”
At the April 7 council meeting, DeVault said a semi-truck was once towed for illegal overnight parking at a hefty fine of $1,700. She said compounding the problem is an out-of-date GPS website listing the Walmart public lot as a “parking friendly” site for commercial drivers.
Law Director Gene Hollins said deputies are knocking on the doors of parked commercial trucks and telling drivers to move their vehicles or face a criminal violation.
“We need to have an airtight ordinance,” said Hollins.
Other CW news
A public hearing for an appeal filed by Panera Bread for a proposed 3,883-square-foot restaurant at 685 W. Waterloo St. near Chipotle, is set for April 21, prior to the regular council meeting.
On March 10, the planning and zoning commission denied the company’s request for a conditional use permit to construct a drive-thru, although city staff felt the proposed structural detail was compatible with other outparcels and recommended approval.