Reporter-Herald Staff Writer
A law in Loveland intended to restrict large vehicles from obstructing neighborhood streets is getting an edit — one that will decriminalize parking common trucks and SUVs such as the Hummer, Ford F-350 and Chevrolet Suburban on residential streets.
The 1977 code that puts hundreds or thousands of vehicle owners in Loveland in violation is unenforceable and outdated, Loveland Police Officer Nathan Schadewald told the City Council on Tuesday.
The council unanimously approved changes to the code on first reading; a second reading of the amended ordinance will be presented to the City Council on July 3.
“We believe that the intent of the ’77 code was to restrict very large vehicles on city streets that became a nuisance, took up space or were potential obstructions,” Schadewald said. “The code is unenforceable as it is right now.”
The code currently limits any truck or bus with an empty weight in excess of 6,000 pounds from parking in a residentially zoned area for more than one hour, unless the vehicle is rendering service to the area.
This rule puts an “undue hardship” on owners of large vehicles and is an undesirable way to use law enforcement, the new ordinance states. The 6,000-pound limit is “arbitrary,” and the average weight of new vehicles has increased since the 1970s, Schadewald said.
Schadewald said the existing code is unenforceable in part due to what it would take to accurately weigh a vehicle — drive to a weigh station, empty all contents and drain the gasoline.
Vehicles less than 85,000 pounds will be permitted to park in residentially zoned areas. Certain large vehicles such as mobile homes, buses, semi-trailers, dump trucks and all sizes of detached trailers will only be able to park for one hour unless they are rendering service to the area or being actively loaded or unloaded.
The rule also applies to any public right-of-way adjacent to any lot with a home, regardless of how the entire district is zoned.
Permitted tow trucks and governmental traffic-monitoring equipment will be exempted.
Because of the difficulties in enforcing a weight-based law, enforcement of the new rules will be based mostly on the size of a truck or trailer, Schadewald said.
Most often, if an officer cites a vehicle that is obviously too heavy under the current law, it is due to a complaint called in by a citizen, Schadewald said.
Council member Kathi Wright of Ward II said she has called in a case before. A large truck parked on her street blocked the path of an ambulance trying to reach a nearby senior living facility, she said.
“For me, hearing this discussion is more about safety than anything else after watching my little corner,” Wright said. “I think people’s lives were at stake. … It was really dangerous.”
Julia Rentsch: 970-699-5404, [email protected].
Published at Thu, 07 Jun 2018 21:47:38 +0000