For those who park their big rigs at home – or who don’t care about the issue one way or the other – no news was good news on Tuesday night.
In a 4-3 vote, the current configuration of the Spokane Valley City Council decided it had heard quite enough on the issue of whether or not semitrucks should be allowed to park in residential areas.
“I make a motion that we take no further action on the issue,” said Council Member Rod Higgins after nearly an hour of listening to testimony on the topic.
That choice – supported by Council Members Ben Wick and Ed Pace along with Deputy Mayor Arne Woodard – shot down a proposal by Mayor Dean Grafos to ban vehicles, commercial or recreational, over 22 feet on public streets.
Grafos and Council Members Chuck Hafner and Bill Bates also supported a proposal to keep commercial trucks larger than 22 feet off of private property in residential areas.
“This is a tough issue,” Bates said but added that commercial trucks parked near homes was an intrusion of business on home life. “They’re running a business in their neighborhood. Residential means residential.”
That argument was championed by many who attended the packed council chambers, who said they were tired of being awakened by the rumble of semis and sickened by the smell of diesel fumes. They also argued that the large trucks are unsafe in areas where children are playing.
Currently, the cities of Spokane, Liberty Lake and Millwood do not allow semis to park in residential zones.
“If cities bigger and smaller in population can get rid of these, why can’t we?” asked Marilyn Cline.
Truck drivers, their families and many of their neighbors, however, countered that they moved to Spokane Valley largely because this area does not have the same restrictions as other municipalities.
“We have different sizes of lots in this Valley,” Woodard said. “Are we business friendly or not?”