Board postpones action on ordinance that would regulate parking of heavy vehicles

The Oakland Board of Mayor and Aldermen has voted unanimously to postpone action on an ordinance that would regulate the parking of heavy vehicles on residential streets.
Board members made the decision during their Sept. 18 regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Karl Chambless and seconded by Alderman Kelly Rector.
The proposed ordinance will be rescheduled for first reading at the board’s Nov. 20 meeting.
It states that the board has determined that the parking of heavy vehicles may:
(1) create a nuisance and cause damage to the streets in residential areas;
(2) be injurious to the health, safety and welfare of persons living in and near those areas;
(3) diminish property values and degrade the aesthetic appearance of residential properties in neighborhoods where such parking is prevalent.
The ordinance would amend Title 15, Chapter 6 of the Oakland Municipal Code by adding Section 15-607.
The new section would make it illegal for any person, firm or corporation that owns, operates or has control of any semi-tractor trailer or truck tractor/towing vehicle to park it on any street, avenue, alley, unpaved grassy area, public way or yard in any residential area of the town.
It defines a semi-tractor trailer as a trailer with four or more wheels, supported in front by a truck tractor/towing vehicle with 10 wheels.
But the ordinance would not prohibit the parking of such a vehicle in a residential area for the “actual time consumed” in the “loading or unloading of goods, wares or merchandise.”
Violation of the ordinance would be punishable by a fine of up to $50 for each offense. And each day that the violation continues would be considered a separate offense.
During discussion shortly before the postponement vote, Rector said he believes it would be “more appropriate” to include a “gross vehicle weight” in the ordinance. He noted that, in Tennessee, it is 80,000 pounds.
But Alderman Billy Ray Morris said he thinks the ordinance is “specifically” designed to address 18-wheelers parking “overnight” on residential streets. He requested the addition of language that would prohibit the parking of such vehicles in “driveways.”
Because of “scheduling,” Mayor Chris Goodman acknowledged that he did not do a “close review” of the ordinance “early enough” in advance of the meeting. So, he recommended “some rewriting” of it.
“I think there are some other things that should be added,” he said. “I just don’t know that we can get the language right during this meeting.”
Goodman said the ordinance might need to address “smaller commercial vehicles” that could still be considered as much of a “nuisance.”
Morris wondered whether Town Attorney Richard Myers or Police Chief Chris Earl might be able to advise the board regarding tractor-trailers parking on neighborhood streets.
“I see them coming into neighborhoods and turning around and just tearing the streets up,” the alderman noted. “Our streets are not designed for 18-wheelers parking and staying.”
In response to a question by Chambless, Morris said the weight of a truck tractor without the trailer is approximately 32,000 pounds. But Rector noted that some commercial vehicles are lighter than the gross weight limitation.
“So, are we trying to cover the parking, as well as the nuisance of a big-type vehicle in your driveway?” Rector asked. “Or are we just specifically looking to address 18-wheelers?”
“I guess that’s a question we’ve got to answer,” Goodman replied.
The mayor suggested the possibility of combining the proposed ordinance with an existing one that would “provide for that.”
In response to a question by Town Recorder Tammie Hightower, Town Planner Chris Pate said the proposed ordinance does not have to be resubmitted to the Oakland Regional Planning Commission for further review.
So, at Hightower’s request, the board members agreed to give her until their Nov. 20 meeting to “research” their questions and include some additional language in the ordinance.
“During that time,” Rector told her, “we can send you an e-mail with what each of us individually would like to see addressed in that. And then, go from there.”