It was truckers against their neighbors in Stafford County last week.
The Board of Supervisors was considering a new zoning ordinance that would restrict tractor-trailers and similar vehicles in residential areas.
The board ended up deadlocked on the issue in a 3-to-3 vote. Board tiebreaker Ferris Belman has 30 days to decide if the ordinance will be adopted.
In a public hearing on the issue before the board meeting, truckers indicated they believed that their rights were on the line.
"My feeling is that if I pay for a place of residence . . . I ought to be Board tiebreaker Ferris Belman has 30 days to decide if the ordinance will be adopted. able to park anything I want in my driveway," said trucker Mike Thomas.
An attorney for two other truckers pointed out that the personal property taxes on a truck purchased new would be about $2,400 a year. Truckers who pay those taxes as well as taxes on their homes should not be restricted from parking their trucks at those homes, the attorney said.
On the other side of the argument, truckers' neighbors said the issue is one of convenience to the truck driver. Stafford High School teacher Bill Hammond said, "If I could just step outside my door and walk to a schoolhouse and teach, that would be a lot easier than getting into my car and driving there."
Other complaints against the trucks in residential areas include problems of noise from idling truck engines, fuel fumes, sight distance problems around the trucks, hazards to children playing in the area of trucks and negative impact on property values because of unsightly vehicles near homes.
The conflict first arose when a local trucker was charged and found guilty of parking a tractor-trailer outside his home. The General District Court decision was overturned because the county's ordinances were seen as ambiguous and not strictly prohibiting the parking of trucks in residential areas.
Within a week of the new ruling, the truckers' neighbors had circulated and submitted to the county a petition calling for a new zoning ordinance.
If adopted, the ordinance would prohibit parking tractor-trailers on residential lots of one acre or less. It would give truck owners six months to move the trucks currently in those areas. Trucks and construction equipment on lots of more than one acre, or in residential areas because of construction there, would be exempted.
Supervisors Ralph Marceron, Rebecca Reed and Philip Hornung voted for the ordinance, while Alvin Bandy, Lloyd Chittum and Lindbergh Fritter voted against it.