Groveport City Council wants more public input before voting on legislation that would revamp restrictions allowing heavy trucks to park in the city's residential areas.

Council was expected to vote on the changes March 25, but members decided to instead discuss them further at the committee of the whole meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 15, with a vote possible a week later.

The meeting will be held at the municipal building at 655 Blacklick St.

"If we're going to change the ordinance, we want to make sure we get it right," Councilman Scott Lockett said. "One of my concerns is that as we go through this and look at the different types of vehicles and different weights and all the other factors, it's somewhat confusing."

Residents' concerns sparked a fresh look at the law, which currently states, "Trucks, tractors or trailers with a gross vehicle weight of two and one-half tons (5,000 pounds) empty or over are hereby prohibited from parking in residential areas within the city after 6 p.m. or before 7 a.m. except deliveries of goods and materials to persons within the city."

Big trucks can cause traffic congestion and make it difficult for emergency vehicles to pass, city officials have said.

However, the current law raises concerns because some SUVs, pickup trucks and other vehicles, such as Cadillac Escalades, might be over the 5,000-pound limit, city law director Kevin Shannon has said.

Council members have discussed raising the gross-weight limit on empty vehicles to 9,000 pounds.

But Councilman Ed Dildine Jr. believes the weight limit should be pushed to at least 14,000 pounds, based on truck classifications from the Federal Highway Safety Administration.

"My whole thing is that a brand-new (Ford) F-350, four-door truck weighs 11,000 pounds," Dildine said. "So, basically, you're telling me I can't go and buy a truck and drive it. I don't agree with that."

Current city law also does not differentiate between vehicles parked on the street or in a driveway.

Police Chief Ralph Portier has said officers use information available on the internet to check the gross vehicle weight assigned to makes and models of vehicles. Every vehicle has such a rating, which is the weight limit set by the manufacturer and should not be exceeded.

"We don't want to ask our police officers to enforce something that's confusing, and we don't want our residents to be subjected to an ordinance that's confusing," Lockett said.

Those who violate the current law can be charged with a minor misdemeanor for the first offense. If there is a second offense within a year, "the person is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree," according to the ordinance.

For each subsequent violation within a year, the charge increases to a third-degree misdemeanor, according to Groveport's current law.

In Ohio, third-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to 60 days in jail and up to a $500 fine. Fourth-degree misdemeanors carry a penalty of up to 30 days in jail and up to a $250 fine.

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