P&Z tables proposed amendments to parking law
The Marshall Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing on Tuesday, July 11, to hear comments and concerns about two amendments to the City of Marshall's off-street parking regulations. The commission decided to table the amendments while more information is gathered.
The two provisions include requiring all off-street parking in residential areas to be paved and changing weight limits of vehicles parking in residential areas.
"Mike's (Morgan) department is complaint-driven," said Chairman Norvelle Brown.
Morgan said he was confronted by Lin Alexander, city prosecuting attorney, about the ordinance dealing with the weight limit of vehicles parked in residential area due to cases that have been brought to Alexander's attention.
"Because we live in a democracy, rules and laws are changed daily," Brown said. "Rules and laws are made for the majority of the people living in the community. It will hinder some people."
The ordinance concerning vehicle weight in residential areas now states that any vehicle weighing more than one ton gross vehicle weight cannot park in driveways or other off-street parking spots in residential areas.
Morgan said the one ton gross weight covers a large pickup. Morgan said he consulted Charles Eidson of Eidson and Ussery Truck Line Inc. to find out what an acceptable change would be.
The recommendation would be to change from one ton gross vehicle weight to 40,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating, which includes the truck, driver, fuel, and cargo weight.
"I don't want to give a truck driver a 'black eye,' but I would not want one parked next door," Brown said. "Please keep in mind, we think this is for the betterment of the community itself."
Susan Heying and Scott Miller said they both make a living by driving a tractor-trailer.
Both Heying and Miller voiced concerns about having to park their $40,000 or more rigs anywhere other than next to their houses on their property because of vandalism.
Miller said whenever he parks his tractor-trailer at the old MFA elevator, "they are breaking my headlights and windows out and throwing rocks at my trailer."
He said he has had to replace at least four windows and "windows on a Peterbilt are not cheap nor on any other rig."
"I don't see anything wrong with cleaning up the city, that is why we have ordinances," Miller said. "Especially eyesores (like old refrigerators) and junk at a house, but not something nice you make a living by."
Both drivers said if the amendment passes, it's a huge inconvenience to them.
With their trucks at their homes, they can do general maintenance.
If they must move the trucks elsewhere, they would have to load up their tools and other needed equipment in a vehicle and there would be no electricity, so they would have to use generators.
Heying said that the city wants truckers to bring business to Marshall but "you don't want them to stay."
She said it is already hard to find a place to park and the amendment will make it even harder.
"We have to reach a happy medium," Brown said. "This town is not perfect, none are. It is not a personal thing (against you), honest to God it isn't."
Morgan has received several complaints through his office and at a council meeting about people rutting up their yards by parking in them and making them an "eyesore."
He said the ordinance regulating off-street paving requirements currently says if the zoning is R1, R2, R3 or C2 highway business, the minimum number of parking spots must be provided by property owners.
The minimum paved parking for single-family residential is two parking spots that are nine feet by 20 feet, which was adopted in 1987.
C2 highway business's minimum number varies by the type of business.
If a business is an office area, a paved parking spot for every 300 square feet of floor space is required.
A restaurant is required to have one paved parking spot for every 2.5 seats available.
The proposed change, Morgan said, would take the minimum required number out and require all off-street parking places to be paved.
"I would rather see the cars parked in the yards than blocking the street," Heying said.
"Regardless of the outcome, whether it goes against the grain or not, we do care," Brown said.
Morgan said, "I suggest we table, to further investigate these proposed changes."
After discussion from the commission, all members who were present felt it would be best to table.
"If we were to vote now, I would vote no because I think we need to do more homework," said Mayor Connie Latimer. "From the paving aspect, we need to change something there."
"We appreciate a guy like you coming up and telling us your problems," member Clay Mead said to Miller. "We need some more of our friends," he said about the drivers, to help explore other options.
The next regularly scheduled commission meeting will be Tuesday, Aug. 14, at 5:15 p.m. in the council chambers.
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