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Truck parking plagues W’bago

By Staff | Aug 17, 2009

Semi-trailer trucks parking on city streets has been an ongoing issue in Winnebago for several years and Tuesday night it resurfaced again.

When police received a complaint about an ITC Midwest vehicle parked on Cleveland Avenue — a 5-ton capacity road and not a designated truck route — company officials decided to ask the council what needed to be done so the truck could be parked in the employee’s driveway.

Keith Eyler of ITC says the employee is an emergency responder for high-voltage transmission lines that serve several area cities, including Winnebago, and large industries like Corn Plus ethanol plant.

Eyler says the truck is currently being parked on property owned by Alliant Energy, however, that is not ideal if an emergency situation occurs.

“We’re talking about an important service. It’s going to delay our response time to our customers,” he says. “In weather like this it’s not a big deal. But, I’m playing the movie forward to winter.”

City Administrator Jennifer Feely cautioned the council not to just allow ITC to park on Cleveland Avenue. She says the city ordinance may have to be changed.

“You’d be opening up a whole can of worms,” she says. “You’d be having other people saying they aren’t being treated fairly.”

Police Chief Bob Toland says current ordinance goes by the gross weight of the vehicle, not actual weight. He says another ordinance does not allow overnight truck parking on any city street.

Although ITC’s truck is licensed at 18,000 pounds, Eyler presented documentation when fully loaded with fuel and tools its weight is 15,549.

“We wanted to represent reasonably the heaviest the truck is expected to be,” says Eyler.

Councilman Rick Johnson, who has his own trucking company, says the ITC truck has a capacity of 100 pounds over the limit.

“They (MnDOT) don’t worry about 100 pounds,” Johnson says. “If he puts it in his driveway, I guess I have no problem with that.”

Councilman Chris Ziegler says he has no interest on holding the public meetings required to change the ordinance.

If the council is going to make any change, Toland wants to be sure it is fair to everyone.

“I’m not arguing one side or another. As a police department we don’t care either way. But, what we are doing is treating everyone the same,” says Toland.

“We do want to be fair to everyone. We’re a small town,” says Mayor Randy Nowak.

Councilman Dana Gates told Eyler he doesn’t disagree with the importance of emergency response time, but, “any decision we make doesn’t just affect you.”

The council decided to table the matter to research what other cities do.