It's the new front in the ongoing culture clash between long-time residents who view Hesperia as a rural community and more recent arrivals, many of whom view the city as a distant suburb of Los Angeles.

Wednesday night, the normally sparsely attended Hesperia Community Development Advisory Committee meeting saw more than two dozen residents there to comment or merely listen to committee members debate proposed restrictions on commercial trucks in the city.

Hesperia has long been seen as a truck-friendly community, especially in contrast to neighboring communities: Victorville bans truck parking altogether and Apple Valley prohibits it except on lots larger than 2.5 acres.

The proposed new restrictions don't go as far as either Victorville or Apple Valley, but they represent a major change to long-time residents, whose arguments echoed many of those heard during the debates in 2004 over restricting off-roading in Hesperia.

"I want to ask you people to be very careful about changing the character of this community," said Lee Williams, a retired engineer and not a trucker himself. "And I'm saying this as a new member of this community. ... If you don't like what's here, don't move here!"

But Williams' opinion is not universally shared.

"The reason why we're here is because of a greatly increased number of complaints," said Hesperia Deputy Director of Development Services Tom Harp. Last year, 437 truck-related complaints were made with Hesperia Code Enforcement, he said, approximately one of every seven complaints made in 2007.

"A lot of this is due to more people in the city," Harp said, especially "a lot of them moving into the west side of the city with smaller units."

Later this spring -- after the Hesperia Planning Commission debates the issue in the coming weeks -- the council will look at a half-dozen new restrictions on residential parking:

* Eliminating the two-hour grace period on illegal residential truck parking. If approved, Code Enforcement would cite any illegally parked trucks immediately.

* Eliminating street parking permits for commercial trucks. Only three such permits have ever been issued, two of them for a single address.

* Prohibiting truck parking in front and side yards of residences.

* Allowing only a single commercial vehicle to be parked on a residential lot.

* Requiring commercial vehicles to be parked on a residential lot, and not on adjoining lots.

* Increasing the minimum lot size for commercial parking from one half acre to one acre.

"My problem with this is all of it," said trucker George Mickle. "When I bought my house, it was because of my business. ... It's my house. If I want to put an old toilet with flowers in it [in the front yard], it's my business."

"We're paving the majority of Hesperia," trucker Johnny Lopez said. "We're good enough to improve the community, but not to park here."

"I think the city council should listen to the people here, not the flatlanders coming up from Orange County," said trucker Charles Gaylor. "We're not Orange County."

But not everyone at the committee meeting opposed the resolutions.

"We have trucks running all day long," said resident Judy Boles. "On a nice day, you have to shut the house up because of all the fumes."

The committee was likewise divided on the proposals.

"Truckers, as a whole, are good, normal people working to make a living," said committee member James Bratton. "Unfortunately, there are those who abuse [the existing rules]. And those are the people we're trying to deal with."

"For me, this is a safety issue," said committee vice-chairwoman Gabrielle Derocher, "Especially parking on the streets. ... As for these ordinances, I'm not in favor of all of them."

In the end, the committee voiced sometimes qualified approval for most of the provisions, but gave the thumbs-down to the proposals allowing only a single commercial vehicle to be parked on a residential lot and requiring commercial vehicles to be parked on a residential lot, and not on adjoining lots.

The Hesperia Planning Commission will take up the issue next, either late in February or in early March. Their input -- which will also include a public forum to get input from residents -- will then be passed on to the city council for a vote on the proposals.

"We are growing," said committee chairman Robert Barton. "There's not a lot we can do about that."

"I'm sorry, but there have to be changes made," Harp said. Four hundred and thirty-seven complaints is "a huge number."

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.