Council Targets Big Rigs

BLYTHEWOOD (May 5, 2016) – Many of Blythewood’s former Town Councils have fought the perception that the town is little more than a truck stop on the interstate. Monday night, Mayor J. Michael Ross decided to do something about that perception by offering an ordinance that would limit or eliminate tractor-trailer parking in the downtown area.

“I’ve asked our attorney, Mr. (Jim) Meggs, to construct an ordinance (that will address) our primary concern in the downtown area behind Carolina Wings,” Ross said. “We’re having tractor trailers park there overnight for two and three nights. They park on the (McNulty) road, everywhere. It’s a traffic hazard and a public safety issue. And the aesthetics of the Town of Blythewood are affected by being blocked by 18-wheelers.”

Earlier in the meeting, Mike Switzer, Executive Director of the Blythewood Chamber of Commerce, offered that Chamber members were in support of such an ordinance.

Meggs said the ordinance would address several different aspects of tractor-trailer parking to include where and how long tractor-trailers can park in the town.

According to the proposed ordinance, “It shall be unlawful for any person to park a truck tractor, semi-trailer having more than two axles or a trailer having more than two axles on any public street, road, right of way or as otherwise prohibited by the Town of Blythewood Code of Ordinances.”

The ordinance also addresses unlicensed and inoperable tractor-trailers and requires that, if parked in the town limits, they “must be kept in a closed garage or under protective cover not visible from adjacent parcels or public rights of way.”

The ordinance would require that tractor-trailers parked in the town limits between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. be parked in areas zoned Rural (RU) and industrial (LIRP, LI, LI-2 and BI).

Councilman Eddie Baughman made a motion to table the ordinance, “until our work session on May 12 so we can hash this out a little more. We need to look at regulations that go along with this,” Baughman said.

Councilman Tom Utroska agreed, seconding the motion, “until we have some time to discuss all the wherefores and wherewiths. I don’t want trucks parking on the streets day in and day out. But I want to have a plan that we can go forward with,” Utroska said.

Councilman Malcolm Gordge also agreed, saying, “There are lots of issues with this we need to clarify.”

Asked by Ross who would enforce the ordinance once it is passed, Meggs said, “I think we’d have to have a discussion with the Sheriff as to how far he would be willing to go to enforce such an ordinance.”

Council voted 5-0 to table the ordinance until after discussing it at the May 12 work session that will begin at 9 a.m. at The Manor.