Council approves parking ordinance

MIDDLETOWN — A new town ordinance restricting vehicle parking and idling has ruffled some feathers.

The amended ordinance prohibits campers or travel trailers to park on any street, alley or commercial or retail business in town for more than two hours, except at approved camping locations or approved special events.

The ordinance states that it does not apply to parking lots of overnight accommodations, provided the vehicle is not permitted to idle for more than 15 minutes.

Parking of oversized and commercial vehicles — large box trucks, flatbed trucks, tractor trailers, commuter/interstate/intrastate/charter buses — is prohibited within the limits of Middletown at commercial or retail businesses with the exception of lodging establishments that designate such parking to accommodate said vehicles belonging to their guests for more than two hours between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., or for buses for the limited purpose of loading and unloading passengers, it further states.

It states again that no such vehicle may idle for more than 15 minutes.

Several citizens spoke out against the ordinance at the Town Council meeting Monday night.

David Harrison spoke about how tractor trailer drivers need to have a place to rest, and how truck stops such as the LIberty gas station have served that purpose.

“Some of them come here and use the place to get coffee and a sandwich and get back on the road, and some of them do stay,” he said, “and by running them off in the middle of the night, you’re gonna have guys back out on the interstate, possibly falling back asleep, wrecking and killing people.

“Not just themselves, but they could be killing any of you, any of me, your families, my families, so you know, I would like to say I think it’s a bad mistake to pass this ordinance.”

Chuck Gurtler said that with this ordinance in effect, truck drivers would likely pass by Middletown and instead choose to patronize towns such as Harrisonburg.

“If this [ordinance] passes, you’re looking at losing a lot of revenue for the government and money, income for the business,” he said.

He also questioned how the town would enforce such a rule.

Cecilia Orebaugh, a former employee of Liberty, said people who don’t like the sound of idling trucks shouldn’t have moved next to a “big truck parking lot.”

“[P]eople are complaining about the noise, but the thing is, in their homes they have air conditioning in the summer to keep them cool and they have heat in the wintertime,” she said, “so how come in these trucks, when they’re home away from home, they’re not allowed to run their trucks to get their heat and their air conditioning? Because a few people say it’s noisy?”

Yancey Sine, who lives near the Liberty truck stop, said he was woken at 3 a.m. one day from a truck driver yelling while trying to back up his truck.

He said he didn’t have a problem with the noise until the barriers were moved.

The ordinance was approved by a vote of 4-2. Council members George Smith and Carole Snyder Jones voted against it.

In other business, Town Council approved an ordinance establishing out of town water and sewer use requirements and an amendment to its land proffer agreement with Frederick County.

<em>Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or <a href=“mailto:rcornell@nvdaily.com”>rcornell@nvdaily.com</a></em>