By jeanne starmack
A new ban on parking commercial vehicles in residential areas prompted some debate Wednesday before city council.
Police are issuing warnings this month and are trying to educate people about what they can and cannot park at their property, police Chief Tim Roddy has said. He said police will begin issuing citations next month.
Roddy said Wednesday that the owner of a landscaping business on Haywood Avenue who was warned three times about storing equipment on his property was cited earlier this week. He, in turn, sent the city a list of 40 property owners he believes also are violating the ordinance.
“We went out as a courtesy to the people on the list and gave them a copy of the ordinance,” Roddy said.
Roddy said that most of the people on the list are not violating the ordinance.
Several of them came to council’s meeting.
Rachilla Basista, who owns a hauling and Dumpster service with her husband, said the ordinance will hurt their business.
“Some businesses may have to close, which means increased unemployment and less tax revenue,” she said, adding that she hopes council will consider amending or repealing the ordinance.
Councilman Robert Burnside said it wasn’t council’s intention to drive small businesses out. He said the ordinance tries to address neighbors’ rights and the safety issue of streets’ being blocked to ambulances.
“Maybe we have to fine-tune the language,” he said.
Dan Wilkos of Creed Street said he drives his 11/2-ton pickup, a company vehicle, home from work. He said he doesn’t want to drive his truck to a shop to switch to a personal car to drive home.
Dallas Bigley, who lives on Haywood and also runs a landscaping business, said he was asked to move his dump truck, and he will do it. He said he lives near the landscaper who was cited. “He keeps grass in his truck, and it stinks,” Bigley said.
“We’ve got to take a stand on it,” said Councilman Mike Patrick, adding that “maybe we’ll have to have a parking district.”
Ruth Charles, who lives on Woodbine Street, said she hopes council considers residents. “As a resident, I feel I have some rights,” she said.