By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport city officials do not want to see large, heavy trucks parked in the town’s residential areas, but questions linger about how to define these vehicles and how to enforce restrictions.
On Feb. 25, Groveport City Council heard the second reading of an ordinance to revise restrictions on heavy trucks that park in the city’s residential areas.
The 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. The restriction makes no distinction between parking such vehicles on the street or driveway, it just reads “residential areas.”
The proposed change to the ordinance would raise the restricted empty gross vehicle weight limit to 4.5 tons (9,000 pounds).
Groveport Law Director Kevin Shannon said the proposed revision to the law arose because of problems with some large vehicles parking in multiple city neighborhoods. He said the big trucks block the streets causing traffic congestion and making it difficult for emergency vehicles to get through.
Shannon said the current law, as it is currently written, is causing enforcement problems because there are SUVs, some pick-up trucks, and vehicles such as Escalades that are over the 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. “We hope there would not be a need for a 9,000 pound vehicle to be parked in a residential area.”
Councilman Ed Dildine said the issue warrants further discussion and gave an example of one resident’s situation that would be affected by the proposed legislation.
“He (the resident) has a Ford van work truck (used in his job) that has a gross vehicle weight of 9,950 pounds,” said Dildine. “But this truck only takes up a normal single parking space. It’s not what you would call a heavy or big truck.”
Dildine suggested the gross vehicle weight limit be revised upward to 10,000 pounds in the legislation.
Councilman Scott Lockett added that the legislation needs to clarify what’s under and what’s over the weight limit by weight and define restricted vehicles by type.
Mayor Lance Westcamp said that he’d like to see the large trucks prevented from parking in residential areas.
“It’ll be a tough decision, but we’ve let it go for so long,” said Westcamp who then added, regarding workers who need these types of trucks in their jobs, “But I never fault a guy for working.”
Council will discuss the proposed legislation and seek public input about it at its committee of the whole meeting on March 18 at 5:30 p.m. in the municipal building, 655 Blacklick St. Council will most likely vote on the ordinance at its March 25 meeting at 6:30 p.m.