Nixa truck drivers, particularly owner-operators, will be able to apply to park their trucks where they live.
The Nixa City Council adopted an ordinance on May 11 that creates a special use permit process for truck-tractor parking in residential areas. The new law will allow for truck tractor parking only. It will still be illegal to park a semi-trailer in a residential neighborhood.
The ordinance became law with a 5-1 vote of the Nixa City Council. After Mayor Brian Steele said he thought the bill was “a terrible idea,” five council members voted for its adoption. District 2 Councilman Matt Barker was one of the five.
“I don’t see negatives. I see us changing something that should have been changed a while back, in my opinion,” Barker said. “I see us taking care of an immediate problem and also making it to where future entrepreneurs and truck owners have a place where they can park their truck and work.”
Nixa Director of Planning and Development Travis Cossey prepared the bill that the council adopted after months of direction and discussion.
The new law allows Nixa residents to obtain permits to park truck tractors. The truck must weigh less than 12,000 pounds. The operator must submit a site plan of the proposed parking location of the truck on their property. The parked truck can’t block any sidewalks, and it can’t require the truck to pass over a curb or sidewalk in order to access the parking space. The parked truck also can’t create a situation where the tractor is parked in such a way that it blocks the vision of drivers on nearby streets.
Nixa has designated truck routes, where drivers are allowed to park along commercial corridors.
“The streets aren’t designed for semi-trucks to be driven on them, that’s why they are not truck routes. They are residential streets, they are not made to do that, so we’re destroying the public infrastructure that all of the citizens are paying for for a very small group of citizens,” Steele said.
It remains unlawful for an operator to leave or park a semi-trailer, tractor-trailer or truck-tractor on a residential street unless they are loading or unloading property, or traveling directly to or from their residence.
Operators will not be allowed to perform mechanical maintenance on a truck in a residential area unless they are inside a fully-enclosed building.
There are also storage businesses in Nixa that allow truck drivers to park, for a fee. That was a sticking point for Councilman Jarad Giddens, the lone councilman to vote against allowing truck parking in residential neighborhoods.
“I feel like we’re going to realize very quickly how many truck drivers are in Nixa as soon as this is approved,” Giddens said. “It’s a slippery slope, I think.”
Prior to the vote, Cossey and his staff surveyed the laws for parking big rigs in surrounding cities such as Ozark, Republic, Springfield, Willard and Strafford. Nixa will be the only one of the group to allow residential semi-truck parking. Giddens expects to see an influx of requests for truck parking.
“I have a feeling we’ll have more special use permits for semi-trucks than anything we’ve ever had,” Giddens said. “I’m all about people working and being an entrepreneur, but you can drive by storage places all through Nixa—plenty of semis there.”
Councilman Matt Barker felt that the truck operators who approached the city about changing the parking laws were no different from residents who own recreational vehicles or travel trailers.
“How is it any different from a dually truck pulling a massive fifth wheel and parking it at their house? Weight-wise, there is probably no difference,” Barker said. “If we’re talking about damage, those fifth wheels would be causing the same amount of damage, based on weight, I would think.”
“The idea is that’s something that happens on a very periodic basis, where with a tractor-trailer, you’re doing it every day, coming back and forth multiple times,” Steele replied.
At the same meeting May 11, the Nixa City Council adopted a bill by a 6-0 vote that provides some accessory parking clarification. Nixa residents are allowed to park up to two accessory vehicles (including boat trailers and car trailers). Vehicles may be parked in rear of home if vehicle is covered or parked inside the confines of a 6-foot privacy fence. Cossey said that the previous language on the books was confusing about how much area of a residential lot could be dedicated to accessory parking spaces.