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Incorrect use of ‘semi truck’ in parking ordinance may force county to pay resident truckers 

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The incorrect use of ‘semi truck’ in a parking ordinance may force a Florida county to pay truckers living in an area currently debating the long-standing rule. 

Truck drivers living in two neighborhoods in Palm Beach County, Florida for over a decade have been “harassed” since late summer 2023, when new residents in the neighborhood decided that the drivers parking their rigs in their own driveways were ruining their quality of life and the roads in the area. 

While the previously unenforced ordinance technically bans trucks over 12,500 pounds from parking in the neighborhood, the ordinance describes those trucks as “semi trucks,” leading to confusion over what exactly the rule means. 

County Commissioner Sara Baxter says that the use of the word semi truck in the ordinance is what led truckers to move into the neighborhood over the last decade, and banning them from parking their rigs on their own property and ruining their lifestyle could ultimately cost the county millions. 

“I am really concerned about the county’s liability here,” she said to the Palm Beach Post. “The courts could very well look at this as a taking, which would mean the truckers are entitled to compensation because they are prevented from using their land the way they have for years based on the wording of the ordinance.”

“Why put that (semi-trucks) in there if they can’t park there? Truckers relied on the language to move into the Acreage and some of them have operated there for more than 20 years. Now we are going to tell them they must leave. It is not fair.”

“People with semi-trucks and other large vehicles have lived in our area for decades, and it has never been an issue in the past. In fact, a number of our current residents moved out here specifically to be able to have this lifestyle. We’re asking for your help to be able to continue enjoying the lifestyle we have enjoyed in peace for decades already,” one trucker wrote in an email to county commissioners.

Since the parking disputes started, truckers in the area have proposed allowing only two trucks over 16,000 to park on each property. The drivers have accepted the possibility of an ordinance that would require them to register these trucks to the property, limiting the parking of any additional trucks in the neighborhood. In the proposed compromise, truck drivers would also be required to widen their driveways to at least 24 feet, which would allow them to park their trucks directly in their driveways and not on the street or along roadside ditches. 

In late January 2024, the Palm Beach County Commission voted to raise the truck parking weight limit in the neighborhood to 16,000 pounds, which would still prevent semi trucks from parking there. The final vote on the issue will be held on February 22nd.

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