South Carolina town battles on truck issue

| 8/19/2002

North Charleston, SC, truckers gained an ally Aug. 14 when several camper and recreational vehicle owners turned out at city hall to protest efforts to ban large trucks from neighborhoods. An hour-long meeting for the city's Public Safety Committee ended with a 2-2 vote, meaning the controversial issue will go to city council Aug. 22 without a recommendation.

The heated issue surrounds the city's efforts to ban from residential areas any truck that weighs more than 5 tons, has more than two axles or stands more than 8 feet tall. A city council meeting last week reportedly drew more than three-dozen truckers and area residents.

Truckers who spoke at last week's meeting talked of being burdened with having to pay for parking as well as taking the risk of having unattended trucks burglarized. Other residents countered that the big rigs are a nuisance, particularly when truckers drive through quiet neighborhoods or start their engines early in the morning.

Owner-operator and OOIDA member James A. White Jr. of North Charleston echoed his fellow truckers thoughts. "I wasn't able to attend the meeting last week, but I suspect this is a done deal. You can't talk any sense into these people," he said. "I don't believe they give a damn what the drivers think."

White said he doesn't know what he'll do if the measure to ban trucks is passed. "I don't know where I'll park. There just aren't too many places to park trucks. If I go to a truckstop I'll have to pay to use the lot and the truck won't be safe just sitting there. I might have to ask a business down the road from the house if I can park in their lot. If I can't park there, I don't have the slightest idea where I'll park. I might see if I can park my truck at a friend's house out of town."

Some RVers in attendance at the meeting reportedly threatened to move out of town if required to park their vehicles elsewhere. White said that's an option, but it won't be easy. "I don't think I'll be here the rest of my life, but it's not easy to just pick up and move. I think I'll just take my truck home until they come and tow it away. I don't have much other choice in the matter."
--Keith Goble, staff writer