Editor's Note: This story includes a correction made in the amount of the fines that can be administered for a violation.
After receiving complaints from residents for several years about tractor trailers and other commercial trucks parked on residential streets, Emmaus Borough Council on Monday took a step toward eliminating the problem.
Council unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance that will make it unlawful to do two things on any street, alley or borough-owned property: park a commercial vehicle with a gross vehicle weight exceeding 26,001 pounds, or park any vehicle requiring a commercial driver’s license.
The only exceptions are for loading or unloading goods or during times of road construction. Also, the ordinance does not apply to authorized municipal vehicles or emergency vehicles.
Violators will be subject to a fine of not less than $15 for the first offense, not less than $50 for the second offense, a minimum of $75 for the third offense with a maximum of $300 for any offense.
Prior to the meeting Monday, Borough Manager Shane Pepe said the issue of tractor-trailer parking on residential streets has been considered by Emmaus Council on and off for several years.
In recent months, residents' complaints have increased, Pepe said, adding that residents have sent letters and photos of the trucks to council members.
“It’s a major safety concern,” Pepe said. “It’s a line-of-sight issue.”
Trucks take up spaces designed for residential parking, Pepe said. Also, he said, their weight can damage roads.
Consequently, he said, there are infrastructure issues even though safety is the primary concern.
During the meeting Monday, Council President Lee Ann Gibert said, “This is long overdue. It is, in fact, a safety issue.”
Councilman Wesley Barrett said the truck parking issue is “overwhelmingly” one of the biggest concerns in the borough.
Councilman Brent Labenberg said he previously opposed any action, but has changed his mind for two reasons: Trucks have damaged some curbs, and he has learned that some trucks come from out of town specifically to park in Emmaus.
The ordinance now must be advertised seven days in advance of a final vote by Council.