Hundreds of truckers turn out to fight truck ban in Hesperia

| 3/4/2008

Normally, there isn’t a problem finding a seat for a meeting at Hesperia City Hall in Hesperia, CA, which can hold up to 179 people.

However, when Stormy Deharo arrived a few minutes late for the city’s Planning Commission meeting on Thursday, Feb. 28, she couldn’t even get inside the building because it was so crowded.

According to city staff estimates, approximately 400 people attended the commission’s meeting on proposed changes to the city’s commercial truck parking ordinance. Some that couldn’t get in to the meeting watched it via a television monitor in the lobby, while others, like Deharo, waited outside on the sidewalk.

Deharo attended the meeting on behalf of her husband, Carlos, who is a long-haul trucker. She said the majority of those attending the meeting were truckers wanting to speak out against the proposed ordinance changes.

Some RV owners also attended the meeting because the commission is recommending the truck parking ordinance apply to recreational vehicles as well.

Deharo said she was encouraged by what she saw and heard from those attending the meeting.

“It was amazing to see that many people in attendance,” Deharo told Land Line. “I think things look pretty good for the drivers because everyone I talked to who was at the meeting was there because they were against the proposed changes.”

Prior to the meeting, a total of 112 comment cards were turned in by people wishing to speak. But time constraints allowed only 49 people to speak at the commission’s meeting, which lasted four hours. None who spoke were in favor of the proposed ordinance changes.

Hesperia has approximately 80,000 residents and is located about 75 miles northeast of Los Angeles in the Mojave Desert.

Deharo said a network of truckers in Hesperia started making phone calls and passing out fliers following the City Council Advisory Committee meeting in January. At that meeting, the committee recommended several changes to the city’s existing commercial truck parking code. Their recommendations were then sent to the Planning Commission for review.

At the meeting this week, the commission recommended that the City Council end the truck parking permit program and include recreational vehicles in the new truck code provisions. The commission recommended against ending a two-hour parking grace period; requiring truckers to park in their back yards; banning multiple trucks on a single property; or increasing the minimum lot size required for truck parking.

The Planning Commission will meet again at 6:30 p.m. on March 13. The City Council will then schedule a public hearing and vote on the proposals later this spring.

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer