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City seeks to clarify its parking laws
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The Covington City Council is trying to craft a parking ordinance that will be fair to both residents who want clean neighborhoods and those that depend on their trucks and other business vehicles for transportation and their livelihood.

On Thursday, the council instructed City Attorney Ed Crudup to draft an ordinance that will limit vehicles that can be parked in residential areas to those that weigh 14,000 pounds or less.

The ordinance will apply to passenger, commercial and recreational vehicles. Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of more than 14,000 pounds can be parked in residential areas if they are located in an enclosed structure. Also, government vehicles and church vans will be exempt, Mayor Kim Carter said in a phone interview Thursday afternoon.

Senior Planner Scott Gaither said some examples of trucks that weigh between 10,000 pounds and 14,000 pounds are Ford F-350s and Chevy and Dodge 3500s. Higher series trucks may be greater than 14,000 pounds, particularly if they have double cabs, flat beds and other features.

A work session was held Thursday because Crudup was unclear about the council’s wishes. It was attended by Carter and council members Chris Smith, Mike Whatley and Hawnethia Williams. Councilman Keith Dalton, who originally asked Crudup to revise the proposed ordinance, was out of town.

The members previously discussed not allowing vehicles to permanently park in the street in residential areas, but Carter said they decided Thursday to simply follow state laws, which restricts parking along the side of the road only when it impedes traffic.

Construction vehicles will not be allowed, because they are not driven to and from work, Carter said.

The council has been discussing the issue for more than a month after some residents complained about large vehicles being parked in their neighborhood. Carter said she felt they struck the correct balance Thursday.

“I think it’s a very fair compromise to all concerned. What we presently have is extremely restrictive, but the previous proposal was also extreme and went too far the other way (allowing vehicles that were too large). (We want) to preserve the integrity of our neighborhoods and the condition of our streets; they aren’t built for those heavy vehicles,” she said.

Carter said she expected the council to further discuss the ordinance at its Oct. 18 meeting but not vote on a first reading until the Nov. 1 meeting.

Gaither said Thursday that the council asked him to check where semi-truck drivers could park their vehicles in the city. He said the Super 8 hotel on Alcovy Road has a parking lot for large trucks that charges a $25 parking fee to people who aren’t staying at the hotel. Gaither said he also was checking with the Georgia Department of Transportation on whether trucks may be left at its park and ride lot at Exit 90 on Interstate 20.