November 28, 2021

Vehicle parking nuisance action postponed

Council was short a member, second reading will be considered Oct. 18

The second reading of an ordinance making changes to outside parking and storage of vehicles/trailers on residential properties in Newton was postponed until the Oct. 18 city council meeting, without objection. If the council, short one member, had voted on it, the controversial motion likely would have failed.

Councilperson Randy Ervin was unable to attend the Oct. 4 meeting to cast a vote. The amended ordinance would have more than likely received a 3-2 vote from the city council. As Newton Mayor Mike Hansen pointed out during another agenda item, ordinance readings need a minimum of four votes to proceed.

City officials told Newton News after the meeting was over the second consideration would be read again at the Oct. 18 meeting, and it would not be presented as a first consideration. So far the ordinance has been met with mixed reception from council members and the public.

If the ordinance reaches a third reading and is adopted by the city, it would allow dump trucks, construction equipment, semi-trailers, semi-tractor-trailer combinations and unlicensed commercial vehicles would be prohibited from being parked or stored in residential areas.

Trailers for over-the-road hauling of liquids, gases, livestock, fuel, refrigerated foods, materials, vehicles, construction equipment or other products or materials will also be prohibited, along with trailers used primarily for storage.

The city argues the storage of these vehicles obstruct views on streets and private property, create cluttered and otherwise unsightly areas, prevent full use of residential streets for parking, impair the free flow of traffic and decrease nearby occupants’ enjoyment of their property and neighborhood.

Storing or parking these vehicles also adversely affect property values and neighborhood patterns, city documents stated. Revisions of the ordinance also include refining the definition of a trailer and deleting the definition of a fifth-wheel trailer, Newton News previously reported.

Ervin offered an amendment to the proposed ordinance during the first reading, which was passed by council. The amendment allows semi-tractors to be parked on privately owned residential properties for a 72-hour period, or three days. The semi-tractor must be parked on a hard surface and cannot be continuously idle.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com

Christopher Braunschweig

Reporter with a strong penchant for community journalism.