Alabaster OKs stricter 18-wheeler parking ordinance

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Tractor trailers are now prohibited from parking in parts of the city not designated for such parking, after the Alabaster City Council approved more stringent regulations on commercial vehicle parking during a May 20 meeting.

Council members voted 4-0 during the meeting to approve the changes to its parking ordinance. Council President Scott Brakefield and council members Greg Farrell, Stacy Rakestraw and Rick Ellis voted in favor, and council members Sophie Martin, Kerri Pate and Russell Bedsole were absent from the meeting.

The changes came after several weeks of discussion by the council’s public safety committee, and make it illegal for tractor trailers to park in lots not designated and lined for tractor trailer parking.

Council members said they regularly receive complaints from citizens and business owners regarding commercial trucks illegally parking in areas not designed to accommodate them, such as the parking lots at the Propst Promenade and South Promenade shopping centers.

“This is in response to complaints we’ve received from business owners and the public, and will help to regulate that parking through our ordinance,” Farrell said.

The ordinance changes enact a $100 fine for the first offense, a $300 fine for the second offense and a $500 fine for the third offense.

Alabaster Police Chief Curtis Rigney previously said officers will use tickets as a last resort to address the problem, and will first attempt to make contact with the truck driver to ask them to move the vehicle.

The proposed ordinance changes also addresses vehicles parked in neighborhoods blocking the flow of traffic or creating a public safety hazard, and allows officers to take action if a vehicle is found to be blocking the roadway or creating an unsafe situation.

The vote came after a public hearing on the matter, during which one person, Propst Promenade owner William Propst, spoke in favor of the changes.

“This is a big issue for us, and we deal with this issue a lot. There are always trucks parked in the shopping center parking lot,” Propst said. “We’ve had to spend money on trucks running over curbs and messing up landscaping. The parking lot is not meant to handle that kind of weight, and it will eventually cause damage.”