Union City Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes
First Quarter 2000
Feb. 8, 2000, Meeting Minutes

Feb. 8, 2000


Members Present:
Dale Shields
Mayor Packard
Lynn Thomas-Roth
Glynn Marsh
City Staff Members Present:
John Applegate
Denise Winemiller

Mr. Shields called the planning commission meeting to order.
1. Mr. Shields asked if there were any corrections for the minutes of the November 9, 1999, meeting. Mr. Packard moved that the minutes be approved with the correction of Mr. Beyer's name. Mr. Shields seconded the motion. All concurred and the minutes were approved.
2. A general discussion regarding changing the zoning code of the weight limits of vehicles.
Mr. Applegate said that city council has asked the planning commission to look at weight limits for vehicles.
Mr. Applegate suggested they discuss changing the current weight of 5,000. In looking through the Internet, he has come up with a weight of 11,200 for a full loaded, one ton Dooley, extended cab truck. There are two terms used, curb weight, and gross vehicle weight, which is the weight when a truck is loaded and filled to capacity. Mr. Applegate said he believed they should continue to deal with gross vehicle weight. He said they needed direction on establishing weight limits for personal and commercial vehicles.
Mr. Applegate added that there are people bringing in bucket trucks (approximately 17,000 pounds), and cargo vans and van conversions. He said they would also have to check into what some of the smaller tow trucks weight. Mr. Applegate said they get more complaints about tow trucks and tractor trailers than vans. Mr. Applegate said they did need to make a change. He asked the commission members what their thoughts were.
Mr. Marsh said he also had a problem with people driving home bucket trucks in a residential area. He said he did not like the impression those vehicles would give a person in a residential area. He objected to bucket trucks and any other obviously commercial truck, but not a reasonable looking van with a company name. He would not like to see a tow truck, flat bed trailer, etc., parked in town. He said he felt the people that had commercial vehicles did not use them for personal use in the evening and did have other vehicles.
Mr. Marsh asked if they could consider keeping the weights low and issuing a waiver for certain vehicles.
Mr. Applegate said it would not be a decision that the staff should make. It would have to go before the planning commission. He said he did not want the staff to be accused of selective enforcement. He said he had never considered that idea before. Several people commented that some of the drivers of commercial vehicles were on call twenty-four hours a day.
Concerning the one case that was brought up in the council meeting, the husband and wife each have company vehicles, and there were four additional cars parked in the driveway, occasionally blocking the sidewalk.

Mr. Applegate suggested they consider commercial vehicles should be parked off the street.
Mr. Applegate said no one wants tractor/trailers on the street. He added that no one is concerned about Time/Warner vans because the residents all have cable and know they can get emergency service faster when the employees and their trucks are in town.
Mr. Applegate said by raising the weight limit to 11,500, that should include the vehicles that people want in town.
Mr. Marsh said most of the other city ordinances in surrounding areas, have 5,000 pounds for vehicle weights also. Mr. Applegate said that weight limits have worked better than length or descriptions of vehicles or height. The weight limit amount is printed on the title and registration.
Mr. Applegate said that they would not be able to make everyone happy with whatever weight limit they come up with.
Mr. Applegate illustrated from the code book, to the commission members that there were three areas in the codes dealing with three different scenarios concerning weights of vehicles. Everything will need to interrelate with existing regulations.
In response to a question from Mrs. Thomas-Roth, the weight of just a semi tractor, not the trailer, is 21,000 to 22,000 up to 26,000 and higher.
Mr. Applegate said semi tractors are quite noisy when they start up also, causing complaints from neighbors.
RV's and boats are in another part of the code. Mr. Applegate suggested that some day, they should take a look at that because of the size of the motor homes that are coming into town.
Mayor Packard suggested they go to higher weight to allow wreckers. Mr. Marsh said that would not be a resident's personal vehicle. Mayor Packard said the people on call needed to be able to get to their vehicle right away.
Mr. Marsh said he felt the bucket truck was not appropriate in a residential area. Mr. Shields said he did not like the large step vans since they blocked visibility and he was afraid a child would walk out from the front of one parked on the street and not be visible to traffic.
Mr. Applegate said the existing ordinance has always worked well until the weight matter came up. Mr. Applegate said whatever decision they made, there would be people that were dissatisfied.
Mr. Applegate said they should consider how they want the neighborhoods to be in the future.
Mr. Marsh said Union has improved its image a tremendous amount over the years.
Mr. Applegate said a Dooley, four wheel drive, extended cab was 11,200 pounds. A Suburban was 9,200 pounds.
Mr. Marsh said the Board of Zoning Appeals could give waivers for vehicles, like they did for driveways. Mayor Packard said he would consider doing that for a company but not an individual.
Mr. Applegate said when people move into an area, they do not check the zoning. Mr. Applegate said they blame the city for their problem but they should have taken the responsibility to check the zoning before purchasing a house in the area.
Mr. Applegate said for thirty dollars a month, they could park a vehicle up at Te-Co, but residents don't want to pay the money.
Eighty-five to ninety percent of vehicles that are being parked in town would be covered by the 11,500 pounds. The other fifteen percent are vehicles that they wouldn't want in town anyway. The 5,000 pound regulation has been on the books since 1973.
Mr. Marsh said the current ordinances eliminating parking of tractor trailers will possibly be passed after the two meetings in February and then would be effective within thirty days, by the end of March.
The weight limit changes would follow the same process. It would go before the council to have a public hearing date set and go through the hearing and three reading process.
There was a discussion about dropping the tractor/trailer process and alter the weight limit and tractor/trailers all at once. Mr. Marsh did not want to stop the process. Mrs. Shields suggested that they keep the semi's out now.
Mr. Applegate is suggesting the weight of 11,500, because it will be printed on the title and registration. It can be proved and it is not something that the city needs to decide to measure or determine.
Mr. Marsh said if the weight is on the title, there is no argument.
Mr. Applegate said the 5,000 pounds is on the books for most cities but it is only enforced for commercial vehicles, not personal vehicles.
Mr. Applegate said the higher the weight, the more vehicles would be allowed in. The lower the weight, the more upset people will be.
Mr. Applegate said city vehicles are exempt but most times, no one would drive a large vehicle home, unless it was an emergency type situation.
Mr. Shields said it was more for convenience that people drove their company truck home, not necessarily that they are on call or have to drive the vehicle because they are on call.
Mr. Applegate said if they choose 11,500 pounds, he would want to look at all the code sections where accessory uses are mentioned. Mr. Applegate asked if they should check into off street parking for commercial vehicles. It might require people widening their driveways, or making them park their personal vehicles in the street so they can park their commercial vehicles in the driveway.
Mrs. Shields complained about how many people block their sidewalks with their vehicles.
Mr. Marsh asked if Mr. Applegate needed a motion or if he just wanted a consensus of opinion. Mr. Marsh said he would be for the 11,200 or 11,500 pounds for trucks and commercial vehicles to replace the 5,000 pounds. This was not to go before the council but to serve as a starting point for the next discussion.
Mr. Applegate will have Mr. Moore take a look at the ordinance and information, state parking requirements, etc.
Mr. Marsh asked about the new fluorescent signs for schools, stop signs, etc. Mr. Applegate said it seems to have helped to keep people from running off the road. School signs are mandated by the state and the others are optional and being purchased by the city. Mr. Applegate said that by placing a few in trouble spots, they definitely get your attention.
Mr. Marsh also commented about the wire fence in a front yard was gone from a Martindale Road property. Mr. Applegate said the people that bought the property took the fence down.
There was another case where a property in Mill Ridge Village on Rinehart Road wanted a wood fence in a front yard with the green wire fence backing so the owner could have a dog in the front yard. The property owner had been given a copy of the covenants which do not allow that. The Brethren Home staff decided that they would not be changing the covenants and the four foot fence was not allowed in the front yard.
Mr. Shields moved to reappoint Lynn Thomas-Roth, as the vice chairman. Mr. Marsh seconded the motion. All concurred and the motion was passed.
Mr. Marsh thanked the staff for the name plates for the planning commission members. Since more people are attending the meetings, he thought it would be a good idea to identify themselves.
Mr. Applegate thanked the planning commission members for attending the last council meeting on the tractor/trailer issue.
3. Mr. Shields moved that the meeting be adjourned. Mr. Marsh seconded the motion. All concurred and the planning commission meeting was adjourned.

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