After being swamped with e-mail and letters from irate recreational vehicle drivers, the city council in Hobart, Ind., now wants to rethink a proposal to stop trucks and RVs from parking overnight outside shopping centers along U.S. 30.
By a 5-1 vote, the council on Wednesday (June 3) decided to postpone a final vote on the parking ban and send the proposed ordinance back for more study, according to the Gary Post-Tribune.
“I don’t think the appearance of semis and RVs in a business district is acceptable,” said Councilman Jerry Herzog, whose district includes the U.S. 30 retail corridor just east of Interstate 65.
But after listening to the president of a local RV club and a couple of Hobart residents, including a professional truck driver, the council majority backpedaled
Council President Brian Rosenbaum said he just wanted to give Hobart police a new tool. But the councilman said he was open to compromise.
When the council passed an overnight parking ban on first reading last month, Herzog said he had received several complaints from residents about tractor-trailers and motorhomes parking outside of Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club in this northwest Indiana city.
When pressed by Councilwoman Monica Wiley,Herzog, who cast the lone dissenting vote, said he had a received about a dozen complaints.
Wiley said hundreds of Hobart residents and RV drivers had contacted her to protest the proposed ban.
“I’m willing to bet that the complaints you received are more against trucks than RVs,” James Hall, of the Portage-based Calumet Traveling Sams, told Herzog.
He said most RV drivers followed strict guidelines when they parked outside shopping centers.
“First they only stay one night and second, they obtain permission,” said Hall, who said he was speaking on behalf of the nation’s 6 million recreational vehicle owners.
Hall said if the city adopted the overnight parking ban, RV drivers would not spend money in Hobart as they passed through the city.
“We’re a close-knit community and we won’t support any economy that doesn’t support us,” he said.
Hobart resident Garry Smith asked the council why it was in such a rush to pass the ban.
“What harm is being done?” said Smith, who lives in Herzog’s district.
“We may have cast our nets a little too wide,” said Councilman David Vinzant, chairman of the Ordinance Committee.