By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport City Council is considering legislation to revise restrictions on heavy trucks that park in residential areas.
“We have had some problems with some really large vehicles parked in city neighborhoods,” said Groveport Law Director Kevin Shannon. “It’s happening on residential streets in multiple neighborhoods with large, heavy duty trucks, some of them with trailers.”
Shannon said the big trucks block the streets causing traffic congestion and making it difficult for emergency vehicles to get through.
Shannon said current city law prohibits trucks, tractors, or trailers with an empty gross vehicle weight of 2.5 tons (5,000 pounds) from parking in residential areas after 6 p.m or before 7 a.m., except for deliveries of goods and materials. He said this restriction is causing problems because there are SUVs, some pick-up trucks, and vehicles such as Escalades that are over this weight limit.
“As the law is written now, if we started writing tickets on really large vehicles, someone could point to a neighbor’s SUV or pick-up truck and ask why they aren’t being ticketed as well,” said Shannon.
The proposed change to the ordinance would raise the restricted empty gross vehicle weight limit to 4.5 tons (9,000 pounds).
“We hope there would not be a need for a 9,000 pound vehicle to be parked in a residential area,” said Shannon.
Councilwoman Becky Hutson asked Shannon about how the law affects large vehicles parked in driveways.
“As the current ordinance reads, there is no distinction between street and driveway, it just says residential area,” said Shannon.
Councilman Shawn Cleary questioned how the city could enforce the 9,000 pound limit.
“Without putting a scale on it, how would we know?” asked Cleary.
Council will discuss the proposed legislation further and seek public input about it at its next meeting on Feb. 25 at 6:30 p.m. in the municipal building, 655 Blacklick St. Council possibly could vote on the ordinance as emergency legislation the same night.
Food trucks in downtown area
Council authorized Groveport City Administrator Marsha Hall, at her discretion, to allow a Schmidt’s Sausage House food truck to operate in the municipal parking lot beside Ace Hardware on Main Street possibly this spring, summer, and fall.
“I think it would be a good draw for the downtown and they are interested in coming,” said Hall, who added the Schmidt’s Sausage House food truck could operate for two to three hours a day, possibly around lunch time or after work hours.
Council members liked the idea.
Councilman Ed Dildine said having the Schmidt’s food truck there could help with future downtown development prospects.
“We could gather data on sales that could help us market the site,” said Dildine of the open green space just west of Ace Hardware.
Councilwoman Jean Ann Hilbert said the food truck would be “a good use of that green space” and Councilman Scott Lockett suggested picnic tables could be set up there.
Councilwoman Becky Hutson suggested eliminating the farmers’ market, which struggled last year, and instead promote food trucks in that area.
In 2017, council authorized Hall to allow up to three food trucks to operate at that location during the summer farmers’ market. However, she said there were no food trucks there in 2018, partially because the farmers’ market suffered from rainy weather and low participation.
Hall said this year’s farmers’ market will be managed by Groveport Town Hall to see what could be done to make the market grow or if it should continue to operate.