Small Nebraska town seeks to stamp out truck parking

By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer | 4/29/2010

For years, OOIDA Senior Member Randy Hoerle of Loup City, NE, and other truckers who live in the small community have parked their trucks in front of their houses with no problems. In fact, Hoerle and some other drivers had moved there specifically because they were allowed to park their trucks at their residences.

However, he and other truck drivers recently received letters from Sherman County Sheriff Michael F. Janulewicz with bad news – the sheriff requested that they find other places to park.

Attached to Janulewicz’s letter to the truckers were copies of three ordinances on the books in Loup City, dating back to 1990. Those ordinances address truck parking in alleys, unloading and loading of trucks in the business district, and parking near fire hydrants and stations. Truck parking in residential areas isn’t specifically mentioned in the language of any of these ordinances.

“At the request of the mayor and the city council, the appropriate city ordinances will be enforced from this date forward,” the sheriff’s letter stated. “You will need to make arrangements to park your trucks somewhere other than city streets and alleys.”

The ordinance about unloading and loading of trucks in the business district included language about building truck parking areas.

“The governing body may, by resolution, provide truck parking areas adjoining, or adjacent to, the business district, and areas for all parking purposes,” the ordinance states.

Loup City Mayor Alicia Toczek told Land Line that since the ordinance was passed 20 years ago no truck parking areas near the business district were ever created.

She said enforcement is necessary because she and other council members had received two different reports that two trucks were seen driving in residential areas recently. She said she isn’t sure how many trucks travel through her town on a daily basis.

“We have not been enforcing our ordinances, but are now because there were some abuses that occurred as the frost was coming out of the ground by trucks,” she said. “At our last meeting, a council member asked that law enforcement start enforcing this.”

Hoerle said he bought his house in Loup City more than six years ago because it was on a truck route. He said he polls his neighbors every few months when he is home to see if anyone has a problem with him parking his truck at his home. He said none have complained.

Toczek said a meeting on the truck parking issue is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 4, at city hall in Loup City. 

Hoerle said some in the community of about 1,000 people that he’s spoken with “don’t know what’s the big deal” about not being able to park in front of his house.

“Some of these guys are small-business owners. I just asked them, ‘Would they leave their businesses unlocked at night and just leave where they couldn’t keep an eye on their stuff,” he said. “They all said, ‘No way, I wouldn’t have anything left the next day.’ I said that’s what they are asking me to do, just park my truck where I can’t keep an eye on it and hope nothing happens to my truck or my load.”

Hoerle says he and others hope this isn’t the final curtain on truck parking in Loup City and wants to spread the word to other area truckers to speak up to the town’s administrators.