At least one Hobbs city commissioner says the city needs to tread lightly on a proposed ordinance that would restrict commercial motor vehicles from parking on any city street, outside of pickups and deliveries.
City Commissioner Chris Mills, who by day is a criminal defense attorney, says truckers can lose their careers over tickets. He said at Monday’s City Commission meeting that city leaders need to look at alternatives to standard state-sanctioned motor vehicle tickets, such as civil ticketing, so that a commercial driver with a specialized license is not put out of work by a $25 parking ticket.
“They pay for everything, they pay everyone’s salary and we don’t want to do things that screw them over,” Mills said at Monday’s City Commission meeting. “Oftentimes, a little $25 ticket will destroy somebody’s career in truck driving or something. I see it all the time. You get a ticket and you lose your job.”
The City Commission voted 6-0 Monday night to advance the ordinance that would prohibit commercial motor vehicles from parking on any street within the city. City Commissioner Marshall Newman exited Monday night’s meeting before the roll call.
Commercial motor vehicles are defined in the ordinance as interstate vehicles with a combined weight of at least 10,000 pounds that are used to transport passengers or property, and intrastate trucks of at least 26,000 pounds. The proposed ordinance makes exceptions for temporary parking for deliveries and providing services, and for authorized emergency, government, utility and transportation vehicles and school buses.
Enforcement of the ordinance would be made simple by license plate designations, deputy city attorney Erik Scramlin told city leaders.
Signs, estimated to cost the city a total of $2,500, would be placed in conspicuous locations, with a potential fine of $25 for a penalty assessment misdemeanor.
The proposal would amend the city’s Uniform Traffic Ordinance. It was recently advanced by the city’s Planning Board by a unanimous vote after years of consideration in Planning Board subcommittees, Scramlin said.
A city summary states several citizens have voiced concerns at Planning Board meetings regarding safety as it relates to commercial motor vehicles being parked on city streets.
The ordinance would not apply to private property, Scramlin said.
“So this wouldn’t be someone parking on their property, this would only be on the street,” Scramlin said. “There were discussions on the Planing Board, ‘Well if we pass this, then people are just going to move them off the street and park them in their yard.’ The Planning Board said, ‘Well, this is the best we can do and they approved it 6-to-nothing to show that they at least wanted to get a start,’ even though this doesn’t necessarily address private property.”
Mayor Sam Cobb said citizens have voiced concerns to him about large trucks parking on streets in residential areas. Cobb noted the action before the City Commission Monday night was only to approve the ordinance for publication, with a final passage slated in 45 days at the earliest.
“I would encourage anyone that feels like this is going to have a negative impact on them to contact me, our city manager or one of the commissioners regarding their concerns about that,” Cobb said.
City Commissioner Don Gerth said he foresees problems with people parking trucks in their yards.
“I mean, sure, you’re not going to get an 18-wheeler because that’s two or three houses,” Gerth said. “But dump trucks, gang trucks, as long as they’re pulled in far enough and they’re not blocking the sidewalk, you can’t touch them.”
Cobb said the city has other ordinances to address the potential of truck parking in yards.
“We’re not going to put people at risk by moving them off the streets,” Cobb said.
Mills asked if the proposed ordinance would restrict the parking on city streets of welding and gang trucks.
Scramlin said it would depend on how the truck’s weight is registered with the state.
Mills said Hobbs is historically an oilfield-friendly and business-friendly community.
“We don’t want these 18-wheelers, we don’t want big trucks or trailers and all this stuff, but we also don’t want to unnecessarily hinder people that are not causing problems and wanting to make a living,” Mills said. “We don’t want to start being not oilfield-friendly.”
City Commissioner Dwayne Penick said the intent of the Planning Board is to remove heavy trucks off city streets to reduce the wear and tear of residential streets.
“It was never our intent to restrict any work vehicles,” Penick said. “It was to keep larger oilfield trucks off the residential streets.”
Cobb said there will be time to gather input from the public before the ordinance is considered for final passage in 45 days, at the earliest.
“It’s a hot topic in the community,” Cobb said. “I know it’s going to create a lot of conversation.”
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