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Parking proposal keeps large vehicles off street

| Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Shaler Township officials are trying to reduce the number of RVs and commercial vehicles parked on residential streets.

Commissioners are expected to vote on the proposed rules governing parking for the vehicles later this year as part of a larger effort to update township ordinances.

“This is an ordinance that will not make everyone happy … so this is not the kind of ordinance that is easy to draft,” said township Manager Tim Rogers.

“The intent of this ordinance is first to get commercial vehicles off the street if we can,” he said.

The environmental and land use committee last week approved a draft of the ordinance.

The ordinance details where certain vehicles can be parked in a prioritized list that includes the screening requirements.

Many commercial and recreational vehicles are permitted to be parked, in order of preference, in a garage, carport, township-approved paper street, rear yard or side yard.

The final option is to park off site.

Commercial vehicles with a mechanical bucket or a gross vehicle weight rating of 11,001 pounds or more and recreational vehicles that are longer than 40 feet or higher than 10 feet, larger Class A motor homes and certain recreational vehicles between 30 and 40 feet are more restricted in where they can be parked.

Board members debated many of the ordinance's conditions in an attempt to be fair to residents who do not have a garage or driveway, or do not have access to a rear or side yard.

They also are working to accommodate emergency personnel or business owners who bring their work vehicles home, while being restrictive enough to protect the safety of pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

Commissioner Jim Boyle said while it may not be ideal, residents always have off-site parking as an option.

“I know, it's not easy,” Boyle said, adding that residents also may seek a variance through the zoning hearing board.

Shaler resident Robert Gorczyca said he hopes the ordinance will maintain Shaler's residential nature.

“I am encouraged by what is happening here,” Gorczyca said. “Compromises are being made and compromises we can live with.

“I think we're moving in the right direction and I look forward to it being passed.”

A copy of the draft ordinance is available at www.shaler.org.

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or bhofstetter@tribweb.com.

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