Nixa seeking public input on ordinance prohibiting semi trucks from parking in neighborhoods

Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 8:54 PM CST
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The city of Nixa would like to hear from residents about whether or not large semi trucks should be allowed to park in residential areas.

“I’ve seen that the public is passionate about this issue one way or another,” said Drew Douglas, Nixa’s Public Information Officer.

But what many people may not know is such a law is already on the books in the Christian County town.

“There were folks that were parking semi trucks in residential areas which is against city code,” Douglas said. “But the city had been unaware that those situations were going on.”

Certainly it’s not unusual as a small town grows into a bigger city that residents aren’t aware of the changes as zoning laws that previously didn’t exist come into play. And over time the city council has made several changes in the code to try and appease both sides including allowing semi truck drivers to get special permits allowing them to park at their homes.

But now the city government has formed an Ad Hoc committee consisting of council members and other city staffers who will study the matter and look at all the options.

Their first meeting was Thursday night and they’re seeking the public’s input. Don’t worry if you missed that one. You’ll have plenty more chances.

“It’s important for people to know that (the first meeting) is more of an exploratory fact-finding kind of opportunity,” explained new Planning & Development Director Garrett Tyson. “There will be further opportunities that will take place. A public hearing before the Planning and Zoning commission and then an additional public hearing before the city council.”

In a local survey taken by the city, 65 percent of respondents said they were not in favor of semi trucks being allowed to park in residential areas while 20 percent said it depended on the circumstances.

“I don’t want to speak for what other people feel about the issue but I have heard at city council meetings in the past there have been concerns about noise,” Douglas said. “People have used the term ‘eyesore’ and talked about the use of trucks on city streets in our residential areas that are not made to handle that.”

“That’s part of the question that the Ad Hoc committee was created to address,” Tyson continued. “Is just the presence of the truck itself in the residential area going to be considered a nuisance? Or are we going to look at it as just because you have a truck on your property doesn’t mean it’s creating a nuisance. Are these large trucks compatible with a residential land use where people have a general expectation that there’s zoning districts that exist to separate them from commercial operations and equipment? But where it can become confusing for people is that this is a vehicle they drive that just so happens to be a large truck.”

The city does have other rules relating to what can and can’t be parked in drive-ways and on the road and Tyson said he understands why all the ordinances can be confusing.

“There’s a lot going on there and if you look at the way the city’s zoning code has developed over time the regulations about off-street parking are very fragmented which makes it difficult for just a regular member of the community to discern what those regulations are,” he said. “Let’s make sure that we’re cleaning this up so that people’s civic senses are considered here. A lot of this just comes down to treating people the right way.”

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