Truck drivers and RV owners will no longer be able to freely park their vehicles on residential streets, the Hesperia City Council decided on Thursday.


More than 300 people crowded into the cafeteria of Hesperia High School Thursday night, at a special meeting of the city council. The venue had been changed after a planning commission meeting discussing the proposed changes to truck parking rules had brought more than 400 people to the 179-person capacity city hall council chambers.


According to Tom Harp, the city's Deputy Director of Development Services, 437 truck-related complaints were made to Hesperia Code Enforcement in 2007; approximately one of every seven complaints made last year.


The council considered a whole series of possible changes to the parking ordinance, but it was street parking that had put the issue on the table and it was street parking that ended up being the issue of most concern.


"Most of the complaints we've received have been about parking on the street," Harp said. "That's a big one."


Most of those who spoke Thursday night were commercial truckers, speaking out in favor of Hesperia's historically truck-friendly stance. The city is the most truck-friendly incorporated community in the Victor Valley. Victorville bans truck parking altogether and Apple Valley prohibits it except on lots larger than 2.5 acres.


"If you eliminate the two-hour [street] parking provision, you prevent people from stopping home for a hot shower and a meal before a three-week trek," Bob Korp said.


"The word 'liberty' is a fragile word, and it's got a halo around it in America, as it should. I'm here to fight for mine," said Ned Smith. "All of us have to endure our neighbors if we want to enjoy our own liberty."


"We suffer from 'monkey see, monkey do,'" Wayne Dillard said. "We see the monkeys in Victorville do something, we see the monkeys in Apple Valley do something and now we want to do it, too."


But their arguments didn't sway four of the five council members. They voted to end the current practice of allowing truck parking for up to two hours in residential and agricultural areas. Many who spoke said the two-hour pit stop was the only practical way to stop off at home and visit their family in the short windows allowed by a sometimes-hectic work schedule. Councilman Tad Honeycutt was the only one to vote against the change.


Other changes were also made to the city's truck and RV parking ordinance:



The council changed the definition of a commercial truck from 10,000 pounds to 26,000 pounds, to exclude larger pick-up trucks owned by residents.
The amount of time a truck can idle was lowered to 5 minutes, down from 15, to match state air quality standards.
The city's little-used truck parking permit program -- and little-understood by city staff, according to truckers who spoke at the meeting -- will stay, and be the only way that truckers will be able to park on residential streets. Staffers will be better educated on how the program works, Harp said.
One truck and two trailers, including a double trailer, can be parked on each half-acre of residential property, down from one truck and three trailers. The maximum amount that can be parked on any residential lot will be three trucks and six trailers, on lots one and a half acres in size and larger. Both Honeycutt and Councilwoman Rita Vogler dissented on the 3-2 vote in favor of the change.
All street parking for recreational vehicles is also banned. They will have to be parked on residential property, rather than the public street. But consistent with state law, RVs can be parked on the street for up to 72 hours for the purposes of loading or unloading the vehicle.

"Tonight was about a public safety issue," said Vogler. "You don't own the street just because you own a house there."


The next meeting of the Hesperia City Council will be held on May 6 at 6:30 p.m., in the council's regular meeting site: council chambers in Hesperia City Hall, 9700 Seventh Avenue.


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