WARNER ROBINS -- A Warner Robins ban against truckers parking for long hours in commercial lots lasted just two weeks.
Bowing to outcry from truckers nationwide, council members voted 5-0 at their regular council meeting Monday to repeal the ordinance. They also agreed to earmark an additional $275,000 for the law enforcement center project.
We said from the start we didnt want to do anything to damage the working guy, Councilman Mike Davis said of repealing the parking ban. And thats the way it kind of came out, that we were against truck drivers. And its nothing further from the truth.
Councilman Mike Brashear, one of the proponents of the ordinance limiting parking, did not attend Mondays meetings.
Council members approved the truck parking ordinance two weeks ago, banning trucks from parking in commercial and industrial lots for more than two hours without permission from the owner. They said at the time problems at the vacant Winn-Dixie parking lot on Ga. 96 had been reported, and they wanted to end the gatherings to prevent those problems.
Truckers nationwide flooded city officials with phone calls and e-mails. They said the ordinance made their jobs of getting goods to the city more difficult, especially since theyre required to stop and rest for 10 consecutive hours. Some truckers threatened to boycott the city altogether.
Mayor Chuck Shaheen and Davis said Monday council didnt research the ordinance well enough the first time. Shaheen commended the council for revisiting it.
We made a decision based on the information we had, Shaheen said. We gathered more information, so we went back and made another decision.
Council members said the ordinance hadnt been necessary to vacate trucks from the Winn-Dixie lot because the owners of the property didnt want the trucks there anyway.
Weve decided that were going to let property owners be responsible for their property, Davis said. If they have a problem with their property or if we have a problem with the property, were going to let the property owners go through means of taking care of the problem.
Vickie Harte, a resident in the area of the Winn-Dixie, attended Mondays precouncil meeting to talk about the ban. She said she hasnt seen more than four trucks in the lot, and there had never been a problem.
Id rather ... let them rest and then have them take off down I-16, Harte said, explaining the roads are dark and empty for miles after leaving Warner Robins.
More money for LEC
In other business, City Council approved a resolution that earmarked money from its unobligated funds for the law enforcement center, which is under construction at Watson Boulevard and Armed Forces Boulevard.
Gary Lee, Redevelopment Agency executive director, said the money will pay for unanticipated upgrades, appliances, equipment and drainage work. He said all of the $275,000 may not be needed to finish the project, which should be complete by the beginning of April.
This is it, Lee said of the funds. And were going to probably give some back.
Shaheen pointed out the additional money is a small percentage of the entire project budget. About $9.45 million was approved in the 2006 and 2012 special purpose local option sales taxes.
We want to thank the people of Warner Robins for passing two SPLOSTs that paid for 99 percent of this project, Shaheen said.
To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.