For more than a year now, OOIDA members who live in the high desert community of Littlerock, CA, and park their trucks at their residences have been “living in fear” of receiving a citation letter in the mail from code enforcement officers in Los Angeles County.
Now they are fighting back.
OOIDA members in Littlerock are asking for the support of all truckers who live in the unincorporated area of Los Angeles County to stand with them and attend a meeting of the Littlerock Town Council at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 9 at the Alpine Grange Hall in Littlerock.
The town council plans to address the truck parking issue in an effort to develop workable community standards that would allow truckers to park their rigs on their property.
For more than 20 years, Tom Fidger, an OOIDA member, who is also on the Littlerock Town Council, has been parking his rig on his property. In February, he received a citation letter from the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning for parking his commercial vehicle at his residence.
“These other town councils have already contacted me for a draft of the community standards we are working on because they are having the same truck parking issues there,” Fidger told Land Line recently.
While LA County zoning code doesn’t specifically say you can’t have a commercial vehicle parked on your property, it also doesn’t say you can either.
Instead, it is up to code enforcement officers to “interpret” which home businesses are allowed or not allowed, using the wording that “every home-based occupation shall be subject to the limitations and standards cited in the agricultural zoning code in Section 22.24.020.”
In December 2008, OOIDA Regulatory Affairs Specialist Joe Rajkovacz met with truckers from several communities who have been cited by code enforcement officers for parking at their residences. Besides being OOIDA members, truckers there have also formed a local coalition called the Antelope Valley Truckers Organization – or AVTO – to fight the truck ban.
Rajkovacz said LA County is using selective enforcement when deciding which businesses are in compliance and which ones are not.
“The code is silent on the issue, so how can truckers be cited for something that isn’t in the code?” he asked.
Truckers have asked the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning for a moratorium on the enforcement efforts until new community standards can be developed. However, LA County’s John Calas, who is the deputy director of the Land Use Regulation Division, told Land Line in an e-mail recently that the county has “no plans to cease our current enforcement activity.”
Calas suggests truckers “park in the thousands of industrially zoned properties in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.
However, Fidger said truckers can’t afford to park their trucks in these industrial zones because they fear what will happen to their trucks if they do.
“I honestly don’t think these code enforcement officers understand that parking a $130,000 piece of equipment in one of these industrial areas just isn’t reasonable for a lot of truckers,” he said. “It’s like inviting thieves to come and shop. When stuff goes missing, who’s going to pay? It isn’t going to be Los Angeles County; it’s going to be the truckers that pay.”
– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer