On the 9th of September the City Council of Chesterfield in America passed some rather controversial ban on the larger commercial vehicles that operate in the area. They are now no longer allowed to operate in residential neighbourhoods.
The mayor, Bob Nation has commented on the situation saying, “I myself am conflicted by this issue. I think that we should try to do something for those who are concerned about this issue, but I’m also concerned about the other folks who have vehicles they use in their trades or professions.”
The ban will come into effect as of April next year where the types of vehicles that will be effected by this change have been announced and there is also new regulations for parking certain commercial vehicles in residential areas. These regulations are accompanied by illustrations which will help clarify any uncertainty about the change. The vehicles that are most likely going to be affected are: construction vehicles and equipment such as bulldozers and backhoes. On top of this the other vehicles are: box trucks, dump trucks, flat-bed trucks, tow trucks, step vans, ice cream vans, buses and those vehicles that have been adapted for advertising purposes.
Lawrence Koessel is a resident in Chesterfield and he has owned his van for his construction job for the last ten years which he has parked at his home. He has said, “In those ten years I have not had one solitary person say anything negative about it. I keep it clean. I keep it well maintained. It is not out of place or unsightly. I never park it in the street. I always park it in the driveway. I use it every day so it’s not something that just sits there. It does not detract from the desirability of our neighbourhood. It does not reduce adjacent property values, nor has it prevented any neighbours from having full enjoyment of their properties.
“I use the van to make a living, put a roof over our heads and put food on the table.”
However, Patrick White is also a resident and he is a trustee of the River Bends Estates and he has said he receives many complaints from other residents in the area and there isn’t much more he can do about the situation. He believes that the vans parked in driveways have a negative impact on the property’s value.
Many other trustees’ of the River Bends Estate have said that what people do to their own properties does affect those who are living around them. Barbara McGuinness has said, “What each of us does on our own property affects everyone.
“Governments have to set community standards to protect the residential quality and car of neighbourhoods.
“So this ordinance is not unusual or out of the ordinary. People should have the freedom to live in their neighbourhood without the constant intrusion of commercial vehicles and their advertising.”
Although there is not much that can be done now as the ordinance is already going to go into effect in April 2014 the council have tried to soften the blow for small businesses by pushing the date back. The ordinance was meant to come into effect immediately however, Bruce DeGroot who is a council member has said, “My amendment was based upon my desire to help the small business person soften the blow. For that reason, I would like to give that person time to figure out an alternative arrangement as to where to park their vehicle.”
The impact that this will have on the community is going to be a big one. Those who wish to park their van on their drive will now have to find somewhere else to park their vehicle which may increase their commercial vehicle insurance policy. On top of this they may also have to pay out to park the vehicle somewhere else which again is another expense that many small businesses could probably do without.
Here in the UK we already have restrictions on weight for larger commercial vehicles in residential areas and there are many complaints from local residents about larger vehicles travelling along narrow roads. Let’s just hope these restrictions that are being seen in America aren’t reflected here!