As far as staff is concerned, we are trying to put ourselves into a position that if the council, in their due diligence, decides that restrictions make sense, that you have options. That’s what we are trying to do.City Manager John Klimm
RINCON — A group of local truck drivers unloaded a heap of opposition to a proposed Rincon City Council ordinance Wednesday night.
During a roundtable gathering led by City Manager John Klimm in Rincon City Council chambers, the truckers spoke unanimously against a measure that would prevent them from parking or storing their rigs at their homes. The city council has been considering a heavy equipment restriction for quite some time, discussing it April 26, 2021, May 10, 2021, Aug. 9, 2021, and Dec. 20, 2021.
“And you may want to record that the next (city council) meeting is going to be Feb. 14 and this will probably be on the agenda,” Klimm told the truckers, many of whom said they only recently became aware of the proposal.
Eric Perry of Perry’s Transporation summed up the opinion of the group, which featured nearly 40 members.
He said, “If you have a central location — if I park my truck there — I have to pay for that! That’s taking food from my revenue every week! I’ve got to add that in as an expense and I shouldn’t have to when I have a couple acres that I pay taxes on where I can park my own truck.
“It don’t make no sense!”
Klimm acknowledged that Perry made (a good point) about truckers with larger lots possibly being exempted from the ordinance. He noted an exemption might create “legal issues,” however, and added that many truckers don’t own large parcels.
“When I bought my house, I looked and made sure they didn’t have an HOA (homeowners association). That’s what I did,” Perry said. “If you’ve got an HOA, your HOA governs what you do in your neighborhood. If I don’t have an HOA, I should be able to park my truck in my driveway as long as I’m not impeding traffic or anything like that.
“That’s the way it should be.”
Klimm and City Planner Jason Stewart have spent several months working to help the truckers.
“As far as staff is concerned, we are trying to put ourselves into a position that if the council, in their due diligence, decides that restrictions make sense, that you have options,” Klimm said. “That’s what we are trying to do.”
Klimm asked the truckers for input to help him and Stewart serve them better.
“The council asked that we have a community meeting to explore alternatives,” Klimm said, “and I know that for many of you — maybe all of you — this is your livelihood. This is how you make a living so the council’s action — if it takes an action — is going to have an impact on you.”
Klimm’s initial move on the matter was to discuss it with the Effingham County Industrial Development Authority (IDA), whose mission is to attract industries large and small to the area that require trucks to move their products.
“(The IDA wasn’t) able to — at least to this point — offer any suggestions for solutions,” Klimm said.
After the unproductive IDA move, Klimm and Stewart began reaching out to private landowners inside the city limits.
Klimm said, “We asked, ‘Are there areas in Rincon that are centrally located but that are commercially or industrially owned so that if some guy has got to start up his truck at 4 o’clock in the morning it’s not bothering neighbors?”
No prospects emerged until recently when a property owner expressed interest in making a few acres available for truck parking. Such a move isn’t close to being finalized, however.
“If more people get into trucking, there is going to be more trucks parking in more neighborhoods and that’s what the council is trying to wrestle with,” Klimm said. “The council are elected officials. They are residents of this community and they are good and decent people but they are trying to address some of the pressures with growth.”
Robert King warned Klimm that large trucking companies frequently squeeze independent drivers out of parking areas at truck stops and fears the same thing will happen at a central site in Rincon.
“We will be back at square one,” King said.
The truckers also expressed security concerns about parking in a central location.
Klimm asked for ideas about starting a “preference system” for Rincon truckers.
Damon Rahn, who took copious notes, was the lone council member to attend the meeting. He wasn’t part of the council’s previous ordinance discussion because he didn’t take his seat until Jan. 3.
Rahn was receptive to the truckers and offered ideas to help with security.