Coffey is a firefighter for the city of Lincoln, but he is
also a small-business owner who lives in the city. In his business
he uses trailers he pulls behind pickups. When the trailers are not
in use, he has been parking them along the street near his home.
He told the council he had recently received a letter from the city
stating that it was illegal to park the trailers on the city
streets. He said he has moved them, but he would like to be able to
return to parking them on the street near his home.
Since receiving the letter, Coffey has talked to a number of
people who feel they should be allowed to park on their own property
in front of their own home, especially when the vehicle is licensed
Coffey showed the council a copy of a form letter he has created
and given to people he knows. He said in essence the letter is
asking the city to revisit the ordinance pertaining to street-side
parking and perhaps make it more user-friendly for people like
Coffey said for him personally, this is a big issue because he
needs the trailers for his business, and also according to city
ordinances, he cannot legally park them in his own driveway.
As the discussions on the issue began, Alderwoman Marty Neitzel
spoke first about Pulaski Street. She said if everyone who owned a
boat, camper or trailer was allowed to park them along the street,
there wouldn't be room to drive down it.
Coffey responded by saying it isn't illegal for homeowners to
park their cars along the street and he has to wonder what the
It was then brought up that there are allowances for temporary
parking. Someone may park their boat or camper along the street for
no more than 72 hours; then it must be moved. Building and zoning
officer John Lebegue said he felt it was a reasonable allowance.
Lebegue said one of the biggest problems with allowing these
types of vehicles and trailers on the road comes from obstruction.
He noted that in the wintertime, trailers and campers along some
streets end up being plowed in, plowed around and that reduces the number
of lanes on a street down to next to nothing in some places.
Lebegue noted there are many cities where street-side parking is
It had also been brought up that some of the vehicles or trailers
parked along the street are used perhaps a few days a year, such as
campers or mobile homes.
Coffey said he could understand when there are things parked and
not being used, or parked for long periods of time, but perhaps the
city could look at these situations on a case-by-case basis.
Alderman David Wilmert said he was willing to review the
ordinance, but at this point he was leaning toward making no changes
to the rules regarding street-side parking. However, he also
indicated he would be more inclined to ease up on the ordinances
against parking trailers in driveways.
He said he felt the city might be able to do something to create
a balance in the law.
Alderwoman Stacy Bacon also weighed in on the issue, saying it
was nothing new to the city. She recalled that the issue came up
when Joan Ritter was mayor and was living near Bacon in Ward 1.
Bacon said her family had campers then, and they too received the
warning letter. Bacon said she went to Ritter with the issue, and
the only resolution was that the camper could be parked on their
privately owned property as long as they could get it maneuvered to
the side and back of their home.
Bacon said she personally didn't see any difference between a
trailer and a big four-wheel-drive truck being parked on the street.
She told Coffey she agreed the ordinance needed to be changed.
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Alderman David Armbrust did not agree. He said he too owns
campers and trailers and would not want anyone to have to see around
them when coming to an intersection.
He said he would not be in favor of changing the current
Mike Geriets, deputy chief of police, recalled that a problem
along Limit Street a few years ago became a big issue for the entire
neighborhood. He said it was the neighbors who started complaining
about the number of things parked along the street.
He also noted that if the city starts allowing this type of
parking, they will be shocked at the number of trailers, boats and
campers that come out.
Alderwoman Melody Anderson said she would admit she would not
want to look out her window every day and see trailers, but she felt
that if they were parked on personal property, there should be some
Alderwoman Jonie Tibbs also commented on a couple of complaints
she had received and investigated last year. She said she was
especially concerned when she saw black trailers with no reflectors
on them at night.
Coffey said Illinois Department of Transportation laws have
changed recently, requiring more red and white reflective tape on
trailers to make them more visible at night.
After the discussions ended, no motions were added to next week's
agenda. However, later in the evening, Alderman Tom O'Donohue, who
chairs the ordinance committee, said he would call a special meeting
of that committee for June 12 at 6:15 p.m.
The public is reminded that unless otherwise stated and supported
by law, all meetings of the Lincoln City Council are open meetings,
meaning the public is welcome and encouraged to attend.
Below is a copy of the city ordinance pertaining to street-side
TO OBSTRUCT PROHIBITED:
(B) Further, the
following are declared obstructions to traffic:
1. The parking of a
motor vehicle, camper, trailer, boat or other personal property
(hereinafter called "vehicle") upon any of the streets in the city
for longer than seventy two (72) hours consecutively without moving
the vehicle, shall constitute an obstruction of the street;
2. A further
obstruction shall be deemed to have arisen under the following
conditions: It shall be the duty of the owner of any vehicle parked
on any street or alley in the city to remove the vehicle from the
street or alley within twenty four (24) hours after snow has fallen
to a depth of over one inch (1") in the city.
A failure to remove
the motor vehicle within the twenty four (24) hour period shall be
deemed an obstruction of the street or alley.
[By NILA SMITH]