HYATTSVILLE – The Mayor and City Council disagreed vehemently on the limitations of commercial vehicles within city limits last Monday night.
At its July 22 meeting, the council focused on parking and traffic ordinances around the city, as well as opening new parking options for business and company. The meeting took a turn when City Attorney Richard Colaresi introduced an ordinance declaring where and when to park commercial vehicles on private property and the street.
The traffic ordinances are required by state law, according to Colaresi, and private property ordinances must meet the baseline set by the Prince George’s County transportation code.
According to the code, a person may not park a commercial vehicle on any street, highway, driveway or other property in an area specified as a residential zone in Prince George’s County.
A commercial vehicle is defined by state law as a vehicle used to transport property, or a vehicle owned by or used by a business enterprise.
Councilmen Tim Hunt and Patrick Paschall opposed the Prince George’s County definition of commercial vehicles as stated in the transportation code, saying the definition was limiting.
Hunt said he thought it was ridiculous someone could park a commercial vehicle on the street, but not in his or her own driveway, calling it an absurdity.
Paschall agreed and said the city had not enforced the lettering ordinances and did not have to.
Colaresi asked several times for the council to consider passing an ordinance, as the municipality must pass one to comply with state laws.
“My point is that you don’t have an enforceable ordinance at all,” Colaresi said. “It’s illegal and it’s crazy.”
“(The council’s) job is to outline (and) enforce regulations and outline that responsibility with the citizens,” he added.
Mayor Tartaro suggested everyone see all sides of the argument and made reference to complaints residents on Burlington Road and 46th Avenue had made earlier that night in a public hearing on speed bumps.
“It’s a residential neighborhood,” Tartaro said. “(Some people) think they don’t belong there and there is a safety issue involved.”
Councilman Clayton Williams said he supports the code as it is currently written.
The ordinance will be discussed at the next meeting on August 4 and in the Code Compliance Advisory Meeting.
For the traffic ordinance to pass in Hyattsville, it must be approved by the Prince George’s County Council first to make sure it meets the baselines.
The city director of community development, Jim Chandler, also introduced a commercial parking permit program that would allow commercial vehicle owners and workers to park in already existing parking lots. Chandler said the city looked at the lot on Hamilton Street as an example of a pre-existing parking lot.
“It’s not practical for an employee, like a busboy, to run out and feed the meter every two hours,” Chandler said.
Hunt said he was wary of discrimination that may be placed on commercial vehicles.
“Are we putting a stigma on commercial vehicles?” Hunt said. “I just want to make sure no one is discriminated against.”