If residential truck parking is permitted in Abbotsford, it will affect only a small number of people – and will not occur on the streets, a city task force has clarified.
Daryl Wear, a truck driver and member of the mayor’s task force on commercial truck parking, told The News, “People think that Abbotsford is going to turn into a giant truck lot, but it’s not.”
Wear attended Tuesday night’s public information meeting at the Ag-Rec Gallery in Exhibition Park, held by the city to discuss the initiatives listed in the document, Mayor’s Task Force on Commercial Truck Parking: Moving Forward.
It suggests five initiatives to accommodate and support the fast growing business of trucking.
The most controversial point proposes residential parking.
The report states: “To authorize the parking of a commercial truck in a residentially zoned area, a development variance permit must be applied for and approved by council.”
The document doesn’t detail restrictions, causing some residents to be concerned their neighbourhoods could see an influx of big rigs. Based on the task force report, a News story on Tuesday indicated the proposals could include trucks parking on residential streets.
However, according to Wear, street parking would not be allowed.
If passed, the proposal would allow a truck driver to park a rig beside his home. The truck would not be allowed to protrude beyond the front of the house.
“We don’t want it to be an eyesore,” said Wear, adding that it’s an issue of neighbourly respect.
In addition, the driver would need to be the homeowner, not a renter. Following the application for a development variance permit, support would have to be gained from neighbours sharing a property line and those directly across the street.
Further regulations would prohibit trailers on semi-tractors and loaded dump trucks.
Wear added that only a few houses in Abbotsford meet those requirements.
Mayor George Peary estimated there are approximately 10 such properties.
“We want to make sure that where it is allowed, it’s not an annoyance,” said Peary.
He added that the truck would also need to be partially blocked from neighbours with either a tree line or fence.
Ideally, he said, there would be more truck parking areas in the city, but properly zoned land is expensive. Often, the cost for the commercial land would not be covered by the rental fees from truckers.
The report also suggests a pilot project, where specific streets in industrial areas would be used for overnight commercial truck parking, from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Fast-tracking development applications for new or expanded commercial truck parking facilities on properties that aren’t located within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) is another initiative, as is promoting the use of gravel pits and sites belonging to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
The report and the input gathered from Tuesday night will eventually come before council for a decision.