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Semi-trailer parking debate by Brazil City Council continues

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

An extended debate over proposed ordinances to regulate semi-trailer parking on city streets wore on at the Tuesday meeting of the Brazil City Council.

The council passed Ordinance 14-2005, which specifically targets semi-trailers (trailers over 25 feet in length "requiring the front end to be supported by a towing vehicle"), on its first reading.

But the council voted unanimously to table Ordinance 15-2005, a measure that would impose specific restrictions for a trailer's length, width and height and affect a wide variety of trailers, pending further discussion.

Tuesday's meeting represented the latest chapter in a debate that has stretched over a full month and several council sessions. The council passed Ordinance 6-2006, which carried a length restriction of 20 feet and encompassed a variety of trailer styles, by a 3-1 vote March 14. Arthur vetoed the ordinance, which he felt would capture more vehicles than the city intended, later in the week.

Brazil Police Chief Mark Loudermilk said an ordinance carrying requirements as specific as those in 15-2006 could cause headaches in his department.

"We would be answering a lot of calls with a tape measure," he said. "That would be something that would come up."

In previous discussions of the proposed trailer parking ordinance, council members had cited narrow city streets as the primary reason for the measure. However, some council members said the ordinance should also take aim at the "eyesore" created by large vehicles parked on city streets.

Councilwoman Pat Heffner would like to see a law that keeps a wider variety of large vehicles off Brazil streets.

"I think a car, a van, any type of vehicle that you drive-- that's the only thing that should be on city streets," she said.

City Attorney Joe Trout indicated the city's current parking requirements leave plenty of room for tightening.

"Quite frankly, our ordinances were a lot less stringent than most cities," he said.

Council members will research the issue in preparation for another discussion at the April 26 council session.

In other business, the council unanimously passed Ordinance 12-2006, a measure that would restrict the locations of kennels and catteries in Brazil and impose stiffer penalties for animals that have not been spayed or neutered, into law after its second reading.

The ordinance would prohibit the operation of a kennel or cattery-- any business or residence harboring six or more dogs or cats or more than one "unaltered" animal-- in residentially-zoned areas, though it provides a grandfather clause for existing operations in residential areas.

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