Groveport City Council could act Monday, March 9, on code changes that would restrict heavy trucks from parking in residential areas.
In July, council approved a traffic ordinance that restricts heavy-truck parking on any street, alley or driveway within city limits from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. The restrictions do not apply to "motor vehicles registered as commercial vehicles that have a gross vehicle weight not exceeding 10,000 pounds, limited to two-axle construction and a limit of four wheels."
However, officials discovered earlier this year that the city’s zoning code, which does not prohibit heavy trucks from being parked on private property, wasn’t updated to align with the new ordinance.
“Zoning enforcement went out and started ticketing vehicles parked in driveways that weren't in line with the traffic ordinance,” council member Ed Dildine Jr. said.
Several residents told council the law was creating hardships for business owners, particularly those who drive box trucks.
Council is considering an updated zoning code that states: “Not more than one truck limited to being a two-axle, six-tired pickup, panel or light truck, used strictly for commercial purposes with a gross vehicle weight not exceeding 19,500 pounds shall be allowed per one dwelling.”
“The zoning code was kind of vague and had no weight restrictions,” Dildine said. “We made it 19,500 (pounds), which covers everything up to what (the Federal Highway Administration) considers to be a Class 5 commercial vehicle. Anything over that would not be allowed.”
The proposed code update also says a vehicle must be parked on a paved driveway or paved surface at the side or rear of the property.
The March 9 meeting is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. at 655 Blacklick St in Groveport.
Council attempted unsuccessfully to pass the code changes during its Feb. 24 meeting as emergency legislation. Although the vote was 4-1 in favor of the changes, five votes are needed to approve emergency legislation.
Council member Shawn Cleary opposed the changes and council member Scott Lockett was unable to attend the meeting.
“My concern is the size of the truck that can park in the driveway, that’s No. 1,” Cleary said.
The new traffic ordinance did not modify penalties for violators.
Those who violate the current law could 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 after the first offense, the charge increases to a third-degree misdemeanor.
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.
Council began looking at city code last year after residents complained about large vehicles causing street congestion and making it challenging for emergency vehicles to get down streets.